Agar agar
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Wholesale Agar agar

Gelidiella acerosa
an overview
agar the "vegetarian gelatin"

Agar is used to thicken foods just like cornstarch or arrowroot. Because it is obtained from a red algae, it is suitable for people who follow vegan or gluten-free diets. In fact, agar is frequently referred to as “vegetarian gelatin.” In Japan, where it is known as kanten, agar is used to make a red bean paste and various gelatinous desserts.

Agar has the advantage over gelatin in that it does not require refrigeration to set—it can set at room temperature.

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Agar agar


what is agar agar?
Agar is a flavorless, colorless and gelatinous substance obtained from red algae, most commonly from species in the Gelidium genera that are found along the coastlines of China, North and South Korea and Japan.

It is a mixture of polysaccharide agarose and agaropectin, glucose-based polymer agents that provide structural support in the cellular walls of these sea vegetables.

In contrast to gelatin, which is composed of animal protein, agar is essentially a combination of carbohydrates. It is also considerably high in fiber, protein, iodine and trace minerals.

Agar Agar, the vegetarian gelatin


history & nomenclature
Agar was first discovered in the mid-17th century by Mino Tarozaemon, a Japanese innkeeper, when extracted seaweed was left outside the inn overnight and froze. With repeated thawing, pressing and freezing, a pure, dry, papery product was obtained, which the Japanese call kanten. Kanten, means “cold weather.”

Other names include China grass, Jaffna moss, Ceylon moss and Japanese isinglass throughout Asia, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Today, agar agar is widely used in Japan, Mexico, Vietnam and the Philippines to make various confections, such as Dulce de Agar and anmitsu.

for educational purposes only

This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

please be advised: 
Before making any changes to your diet you should always consult with your doctor,
especially if you are pregnant, nursing or have existing conditions.

PHOTO CREDIT (TOP): ©2008, Anne Frijsinger & Mat Vestjens (, Photo taken in the Caribbean sea.
PHOTO CREDIT (BOTTOM): © Keoki Stender (, Photo taken in Hawaii.