Nowadays, almost everyone is concerned about their health. Therefore, people want to know the ingredients that are involved in preparing the food items.
Some people are simply nature and animal lovers. Hence, they always prefer vegan options for everything. Jelly is no exception to this.
But have you ever wondered whether jelly is vegan? Is there such a thing as vegan jelly?
The answer is yes. It depends on the ingredients you use to make the jelly.
Jelly is made from 3 essential ingredients: fruit juice, gelatin and, sweetener. Amongst these three ingredients, the following two ingredients make jelly not suitable for vegans.
Gelatin is used as a binding material and to keep the jelly in shape. It is obtained from collagen. It is produced by processing the skin, bones, and cartilage of pigs or cattle.
Gelatin is sometimes also derived from fish. Since animals products are used to make gelatin, it is not considered vegan. Almost all Jelly candies packed with gelatin are non-vegan.
Sweeteners are used to make jelly sweet. Sweeteners like honey are derived from the honey bees and therefore considered non-vegan. Moreover, white sugar, which is commonly used as a sweetener in most products, is sometimes considered non-vegan.
The reason behind this is the white sugar we use is not naturally white. The color of the sugar is the effect of refining the sugar that involves the usage of charred animal bones.
Jelly and Vegan diet?
Nowadays, people want to shed the extra weight they have gained over the past few days or past few months, and they are aware of what's happening in their bodies. So many people accept the vegan lifestyle.
They want to eat healthily and stay healthy. Moreover, people are getting more cautious of the harm caused to animals to extract some ingredients from their bodies. They want to live their lives with a more holistic approach. Therefore, they prefer vegan food over regular food.
Celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres are spreading awareness and encouraging people to accept and embrace the vegan lifestyle. So people are looking for vegan options for the non-vegan food they are eating.
Jelly, which is a ubiquitous and popular dessert, is no exception to this trend. But how can someone get a vegan jelly?
As explained earlier, the two ingredients that make jelly non-vegan are gelatin and sweetener if any animal extracted sweetener is used. Replace these two ingredients with vegan-friendly ingredients, and there you have it - a brand new vegan jelly customized just for you!
Non-vegan alternatives to gelatin
Pectin is the best and the most popular alternative that can be used instead of gelatin. It is a fiber that is found in most fruits and vegetables. Hence it is readily available.
How to use pectin
When pectin is heated at an appropriate temperature in liquid, it converts into the gel. There is no specific ratio of the quantities that need to be used. Hence, you have to use the exact recipe.
This gel is ideal to use as a binding agent. Hence, the gel made from pectin can be used gelly as a binding agent instead of gelatin.
Agar-agar is also known as agar or Katen. It is derived from a seaweed known as red algae. It is a semi-translucent, flavorless, not so jiggly gel-like substance. Agar-agar is found in powder, flakes, bars, and sheets. It is also used to make several desserts throughout the world, especially in Asia.
How to use agar
If you want to use agar:
- Boil some water.
- Dissolve agar in hot water.
- Don't stir the solution and let it sit for nearly an hour. After the hour is passed, you have agar that you want to use to make jelly.
A vegan gel is not an ingredient but a mixture of vegetable gum, carrageenan, and tapioca dextrin.
It has a consistency that matches the consistency of the gelatin. Hence, it can be used as its alternative.
How to use the vegan gel
The ingredients in the vegan gel differ from brand to brand. Hence, it is best advised to follow the step-by-step recipe on the package of the vegan gel.
Carrageenan is another alternative for gelatin that is derived from seaweed, to be specific, red seaweed. It has a texture that is softer than gelatin. It is readily available in the market in powder form. It is used to make icecreams, chocolate milk, etc. Carrageenan is certainly vegan even though the above foods that are made from it aren't. It is also used to make some vegan products, like vegan cheese, vegan pudding, etc.
How to use carrageenan
Like agar, if you want to use carrageenan as an alternative to gelatin, mix it with the liquid and heat it.
Non-vegan alternatives to animal extracted sweetener and white sugar
In the case of sweeteners, make sure not to use any sugar derived from any animal parts. Moreover, make sure that you don't use white sugar as it can be considered non-vegan because of animal chare usage when it is refined. There are various sweeteners available in the market that are plant-based, as follows:
Maple syrup contains 24 different types of antioxidants. It is a popular choice as a sweetener, especially in North America. A province in Canada produces 80% of the world's supply of maple syrup.
Maple syrup is made by heating the boiling the sap extracted from the maple tree by drilling a hole in it. After boiling, it gets thick and sugary. Once it gets thick, it is filtered to remove all the impurities, if any.
Corn syrup is another alternative that you can use as a sweetener. But let me warn you that corn syrup is very high in fructose. The fructose that is consumed from natural sources as fruits are healthy and beneficial to health. But the fructose that is available in corn syrup is not healthy.
The name sucanat comes from sugar cane natural. Sucanat is derived from natural sugar cane juice and hence the name. First, the sugar cane juice is pressed, then strained, and finally boiled at an appropriate temperature. Sucanat has coarser granules than regular sugar. It is also brown as it is refined sugar.
Dates contain a high amount of dietary fiber. It can be made in a home by simply grinding the de-seeded dates with lukewarm water. It is the healthiest vegan alternative for sugar or animal extracted sweeteners.
Coconut sugar is rich in zinc, iron, calcium, and potassium. It is derived from the sap found inside the flower of the coconut palm tree. The sap is then boiled till all the water in it is evaporated.
Brown rice syrup
The brown rice syrup is made from brown rice. The starch in the grain of the brown rice is broken down. The brown rice syrup lacks fructose. Hence it is another healthy option for regular sugar.
You can replace the white sugar, or the animal extracted sugar with any of these sweeteners.
Common Misconceptions about jelly
Jams, jelly candies, preserves are often confused with jelly. This confusion happens to owe to the similar textures of all these food items.
But there are some fundamental and profound differences in all these products. They sometimes differ in ingredients, sometimes the way they are made, and sometimes by the techniques used.
If such a case arises, it is recommended to read the package's label it is stored in. For example, jelly and jam are made with the same ingredients. But to make the jam, the fruits are not strained.
They are cut into small pieces and then mixed with sugar and gelling agents. The fruit juice is not used to make jam.
Every lifestyle comes with its pros and cons, its own rules and regulations. When you want to embrace a new lifestyle like a vegan lifestyle, you need to study what you can and can't eat.
If you can't eat some food items, you need to find some options to replace those food items in your diet.
If you like to eat jelly and you are a vegan, don't worry. You can make your vegan jelly. If you want to buy vegan jelly from the market, please look if it's vegan friendly or not on the package.
There are some jellies available in the market that are vegan. One example of the same is Welch's jelly. The ingredients in the same are Concord grapes, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, fruit pectin, citric acid, sodium citrate.
You can see from all the ingredients that Welch's jelly is vegan. You can find some other options for yourself if you want.