Jelly Cubes and Sea-lions

When I was younger I used to like eating jelly cubes – the flavoured, coloured sort that pulled off from a tablet jelly.  These were made by Rowntree, but Hartley make them now – a solid tablet, marked into squares  and designed to be pulled apart, stirred into a measured amount of hot water and then left to set. I didn’t much like the actual jelly dessert that resulted, it was too ‘jellyish’ but I did like the much more chewy pieces of the jelly tablet itself.

I seem to remember my Mum telling me that jelly was good for my nails, and, if I seemed to be bending or breaking them a lot, she would ‘prescribe’ jelly cubes to help the situation.

An Old Wives’ Tale?

Maybe – or maybe not.

Gelatine contains the amino acids glycine, alanine, proline and hydroxyproline which are needed for various body processes, and help to maintain the body in a generally healthy state. Lots of claims are made about using gelatine as a health supplement –  you can find them on the internet yourself, eg http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3314562/Want-avoid-winter-colds-Tuck-jelly-Gelatine-boost-immune-beat-hangovers-banish-cellulite.html  so maybe it’s not just an Old Wives’ Tale. Years ago many people would boil up animal bones in a stew or broth, and consume gelatine that way  – fewer do that now, so maybe there is a need for a gelatine supplement in our diets sometimes.

What’s that got to do with Sea-lions?

Recently, we sent out an order of fish gelatine to the keepers at a zoological park who were concerned about the health of their sea-lions. They had been told that a gelatine supplement would be helpful and so decided to give it a go.

We are looking forward to hearing if it has had beneficial effects for them


Hydrolysed Collagen – a high quality, natural protein.

As a valuable source of protein, Hydrolysed Collagen is rich in such amino acids as proline, glycine, alanine, and arginine.

These amino acids:

  • strengthen the immune system by helping to form antibodies
  • regulate oxygen output
  • help to support the health of joints, bones and skin

It is beneficial to

bones and joints,  because it contains large concentrations of the amino acids glycine and proline. Both of these amino acids are vital to the development of joint cartilage, which suffers if joints are subject to great stress.

the connective tissue, ensuring taut and firm skin. When taken orally, the natural protein is absorbed immediately into the bloodstream and transported directly to the various parts of the body where it is used.

those looking for a supplement for sports nutrition; because it is so similar to the proteins found in the human body, it is easily absorbed by the body for use in its processes.

Hydrolysed Collagen is:

A picture of Collagen powder

Hydrolysed Collagen Powder

  • a high quality, natural protein
  • neutral in taste
  • easily absorbed by the body
  • a white odourless powder
  • easily soluble in cold liquids
  • not known to have an allergenic potential.

It can be taken mixed into a cold drink such fruit juice or a smoothie. To give you an idea of how much to take, on the website of the Gelatine Manufacturers of Europe  Association it says: “Studies have shown that 10 grams of hydrolysed collagen per day are sufficient for adults to enjoy the benefits on joint, bone and skin health.”

Hydrolysed Collagen helps the body to build up proteins because it is made up of amino acids which are essential to human health. The body needs amino acids to maintain its immune system, replace tissue, build up hormones and enzymes, transport oxygen and fats in the body and transmit nerve impulses. Nothing works without proteins. The dominating protein in the human body is collagen represented in all collagenous tissues like skin, bones, joint cartilage etc (70 percent of joint cartilage consists of collagen).


Making Marshmallows

Are you thinking of making your own marshmallows – maybe just for fun, or maybe as a business?

Miss Marshmellow - Strawberry Marshmallows

Miss Marshmellow – Strawberry Marshmallows

If so, then you probably have some questions, such as:

  • Should I use powder or leaf gelatine?
  • What strength of gelatine should I use?
  • Does it matter if I use Beef or Pork gelatine?
  • How do I use the gelatine?

Should I use powder or leaf gelatine?

I would always use powdered gelatine instead of leaf gelatine as powdered gelatine is easier to use than leaf gelatine.

What strength of gelatine should I use?

  • The gel strength of the gelatine will control the setting and the texture of the product. High strength gelatines set more quickly and are more elastic in texture. These higher strength gelatines are used extensively in the manufacture of marshmallows. (We can supply both Pork and Beef Gelatine powder in 240 bloom strength, as well as a 150 bloom Fish gelatine)

 Does it matter if I use Beef or Pork gelatine?

  •  Pork gelatines have a much higher foam capacity compared to Beef gelatines, and are able to produce more stable mallows, and much easier.
  • Care must be taken with Pork gelatine not to over whisk the mixture, as the volume of foam produced means that the texture of the marshmallow might be too light and fluffy.
  • If you are using Beef gelatine the amount of Glucose syrup will affect the foaming performance of the gelatine, and too much Glucose syrup may even lead to the total collapse of the foam. A formulation based on invert sugar is safer.

How do I use the gelatine?

One of my other posts  will answer this question

Useful Information:

There are many factors that control the commercial production of marshmallows:

eg Foaming behaviour – Gelatine is a water soluble protein which is also soluble in a high sugar solution. As such it is able to emulsify air and liquid together (i.e. create foam). This property if affected by whether pork or beef gelatine is used, and the quantity of glucose syrup used (see above). When adding ingredients  to the foam should take care as  every ingredient that you add will affect the mallow foam.

Miss Marshmellow - Very Berry Marshmallows

Miss Marshmellow – Very Berry Marshmallows

If you’d prefer to just BUY your Marshmallows,

Miss Marshmellow - Toasted Coconut Marshmallows

Miss Marshmellow – Toasted Coconut Marshmallows

then try these – you can buy them from Miss Marshmellow.


How to use gelatine

 Gelatine is  easy to use!!!

Many people think that there is an art to using gelatine – but really it is more like a science and as long as you follow a few simple rules you should get good results every time.

One word that can be confusing is  “bloom“. This is because it has two different meanings when it is referring to using gelatine.

  • The first use of the word Bloom is in reference to the setting strength of gelatine.  The gelling strength of gelatine is indicated by the figure given as its “Bloom” –  starting at approx 90 Bloom (the weakest) to 300 Bloom (the strongest). This rather odd sounding unit was named after the man who developed the  test  for gelatine in 1925, a Mr Oscar T Bloom.

The powder sold in supermarkets in the UK is usually a 120 Bloom.

Professional sweet makers etc use strengths between 220 – 250 bloom.

If you are thinking about the 240 bloom you will use between a half to a third less than supermarket powder. You will need to experiment with the quantity of gelatine to use but I would start with about half the amount that you normally use, and see if that is enough. There is no difference in taste.

For special effects makeup, prosthetics and ballistics testing  the 300 bloom (which I also sell) is generally used.

  • The second use of the word Bloom is what you need to do to prepare the gelatine powder for use.

You will need to “bloom” the gelatine before you use it:

How to use gelatine - blooming

How to use gelatine – blooming

  1. Soak the gelatine for 30 min’s or more in 3 to 4 times its own weight of cold water or other liquid
  2. Heat this mixture up gently over some form of double boiler, or in the microwave, until it forms a clear liquid.

NB     Never allow gelatine to boil, or use boiling water, as this affects the strength of the gelatine.

You also need to be careful about what you are trying to gel, for example Lemon juice will require more gelatine to set than water will.

Some fruits  contain enyzmes called proteases which stops the gelatine from setting. These fruits need to be heated to inactivate the enyzmes. (eg pineapple, kiwi, figs, papaya, mango, guava and ginger root)


Gelatin or gelatine?

Which is it?

It just depends where you come from, Gelatin is the American spelling, but here in the UK we put an “e” on the end so it becomes Gelatine,

A mound of Fish gelatin used as an ingredient

Fish Gelatin or Gelatine

So what exactly is Gelatine or Gelatin?

However you choose to spell it Gelatine or Gelatin is a pure natural protein. It is obtained from animal raw materials containing collagen. Gelatine or gelatin is an irreversibly hydrolysed form of collagen. Gelatine is a food ingredient and not a food additive with an E-Number. Gelatine is 84 to 90% protein.

Without protein there would be no human life. Other nutrients, such as fats and carbohydrates, can replace each other in the human metabolism over long periods. But people need protein every day. The natural foodstuff gelatine is therefore of inestimable value to the human organism.

Gelatine does not contain any preservatives or other additives. It is free of fat and cholesterol and causes no common allergies. .

The most common use of gelatine is in food applications, followed by pharmaceutical use, photographic use and technical use. What makes gelatine so unique is the large number of different properties combined in this single product. Those are functions like gelling, thickening, foam building, stabilizing, water binding etc.

What is hydrolysed collagen and is it the same as gelatine?

The raw material for hydrolysed collagen is very much the same as for gelatine. However, the production process and the properties are different.

Hydrolysed collagen is produced by an enzymatic hydrolysis of the collagen. Due to the lower molecular weight caused by shorter peptide chains hydrolysed collagen shows no gelling power but a number of health and beauty related properties instead.

Hydrolysed collagen is type 1 hydrolysed collagen, the same as that found in human bones and skin. It is a natural product containing 97 % protein (on a dry weight basis). It does not have any gelling strength. It is especially soluble, even in cold liquids and has good organoleptic properties. It plays an important role in functional foods and dietary supplements e.g. for bone and joint health or beauty maintenance. As a pure protein it also used in weight management products such as nutritional bars or diet products.

Further information on gelatine can be found at www.gelatine.org which is the Gelatine manufactures of Europe website, or if you are in North America  then you can go to The Gelatin Manufacturers Institute of America’s web site  www.gelatin-gmia.com.