Thursday, November 18, 2010

Vegan and Gluten Free Marshmallows

I am making candied yams for my son's Thanksgiving Feast - and really did not want to put regular store bought marshmallows on top.  They have gelatin in them, and that does not sound appetizing to me, knowing what gelatin is made from.  Here is some info from the Polymer Science Learning Center's website:

What is gelatin used for?
  • binders for paper money
  • cosmetics
  • bonding for the tip of matches
  • bakery products
  • photographic film
  • whipping agent in dairy products
  • medicine emulsions
  • hardening of jams and jellies
  • treatment of wounds as a sponge
  • marshmallows
Exactly what IS gelatin anyway?
Basically it's a protein substance obtained by boiling animal bones and connective tissue. (Hey, you asked!) But where does the raw material for gelatin come from??? You guessed it! The meat industry where all that's left but the moo is converted to gelatin. The end result is a pale yellow, dry powder. The powder is about 85% protein, 13% water, and 2% mineral salts, free of additives and preservatives. Gelatin contains about 18 different amino acids joined together in a chain. Eventually a polymer in the shape of a triple helix (or triple spiral) is the complex form that gives gelatin its unique ability to, well, "gel" things.
I also did not want to MAKE marshmallows.  I tried a "Martha" recipe years ago, and my little Easter Peeps looked like a big pink glob of sticky goo.  Yuck!  
So, I am happy to say, I found Vegan, Gluten-Free Marshmallows made by Chicago Soydairy called Dandies.  They are made in a peanut/tree-nut free facility on dedicated vegan equipment.  And, they taste really good!  Our local market, Henry's carries them.  Check out your local natural foods grocer and see if they have them.  A great alternative!

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