Gelatine is a most versatile protein. This is no more evident than in its use in a wide range of food products prepared in the home. Gelatine based dishes are healthy, nutritious, economical and attractive. Such dishes are much more than traditional jellies and include salads, meats, poultry, seafood, desserts, slices, cheesecakes, ice creams and dressings to name a few.

Gelatine is easy to prepare. For the beginner, here are a few tips.

Gelatine is usually purchased in a dry powdered (granulated) form. However, it is sometimes available in a dry leaf form. Either form is perfectly satisfactory for domestic use.
Prior to dissolving Gelatine, it is advisable to hydrate. This initial hydration varies slightly for powdered and leaf Gelatine.

Hydrating Gelatine

Powdered Gelatine

For the equivalent of each 30 g of gelatine, place it in 125 ml of cold water ( cup).
Allow the Gelatine to hydrate for about 5 minutes.
Dissolve by pouring the Gelatine and cold water into one litre of hot/boiled water.

Leaf Gelatine

Place the leaves individually in cold water and allow them to swell for about 5 minutes.
Remove them and gently squeeze them out.
Proceed to dissolve the gelatine in hot/boiled water.

Dissolving Gelatine to Form a Gel Solution

To achieve easy blending with ingredients, gelatine must be dissolved in hot water to form a concentrated gel solution. The gel solution will dilute when added to liquids in a recipe.

Measure amount of hot water into a measuring jug.
Measure required quantity of gelatin and, for speedy absorption, add it immediately to the hot liquid.
Briskly beat the hot liquid with a fork or wire whisk.
When the entire gelatine has been absorbed, the hot gel solution will be a clear golden liquid ready for use.

Retaining a Gel Solution

If a recipe is extensive, requiring retention of the solution for a period of time, stand the solution in a bowl of warm water. This procedure can also be used to re-liquefy the solution if it sets before time.

Moulding

Moisten and chill the mould in a refrigerator.
Pour the cooled gel solution into the mould. (If the recipe requires it, retain a small amount for later use.)
Coat the mould by tilting and turning. Chill.
Decorate with contents, ensuring they are lukewarm.
Spoon remaining gel solution over the contents, according to the recipe.

Unmoulding

Dip the mould in a bowl of warm water for about 10 seconds. Lightly shake the mould.

Moisten a chilled serving plate. This allows easy sliding should the contents unmould off-centre. Place the moistened, chilled plate over the mould.

Invert the plate and mould, shake gently but well.
Carefully lift the mould away.

NB: As an aluminum mould is non-porous, the gelled product will leave it more easily than china, glass or plastic.

Tips & Precaution :

Store gelatin in an airtight container in a cool dry area, free from odours.

Fresh pineapple, paw and kiwi fruit contain an enzyme that breaks down the gelatin protein. This inhibits the gelatine's ability to set. These fruits must be heated before adding to a gelatine mix, to disable the enzyme.

Never add gelatine to boiling liquid because it loses its jelly strength.
Jellies should never be frozen. After defrosting they lose their smooth consistency and become brittle.
 
 

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