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Food Thickener Agent Thicken, stabilize and gel foods with food thickening agents

Thickener agents stand for those substances which increase the thickness of a solid mixture or a liquid or a solution keeping its other properties unaltered. Thickening agent for food is an ingredient which is added to various food ingredients to create a denser or stiffer substance. Thickeners also aid in improving the suspension of emulsions or other ingredients and enhancing the stability of the product. Thickening agents are often found in food, cosmetics and personal hygiene products. These agents are also used in medical condition like Dysphagia that causes difficulty in swallowing.

Some of the most common food thickening agents and their uses:

Arrowroot: This starch thickener is quite same as cornflour and often used in sauces and gravies. It is able to withstand extensive heating without breaking down.

Agar: It is a kind of dried seaweed which can be used as a substitute for gelatin. Even stronger than gelatin, it requires no refrigeration to set to achieve the required effect. Agar is commonly used in ice cream as a thickener.

Gelatin: The natural gelatin, which is released as highly flavored juices from fish or meats during cooking, is able to create a syrupy-textured sauce that gets further thickened with the use of fat like butter.

Egg Whites: Beaten egg white is a food thickener agent used in many baked items and desserts; it adds volume and helps in thickening the ingredients.

Beurre Manie: Kneading together equal quantities of butter and flour, this paste is made to be used as a thickener. This thickening agent for food is whisked into sauces, stews and soups.

Roux: This food thickener is made from fat, usually butter and cooked flour to be used in sauces, gravies, or soups. Cooking to varying degrees gives rise to a white, blond, or brown roux on the basis of how it is going to be used.

Butter: It is a common thickener which is used in a variety of sauces; it is usually used as the finishing agent for the sauces. It can also be used in sauces as an emulsion, as a thickener for liquids or as a flavor enhancer. It also plays a significant role in smoothening and softening the texture and flavor of sauce.

The other commonly used food thickeners include Carrageenan, Egg Yolks, Flour, Cream, Cheese, Mayonnaise, Groats, Pectin, Seaweed, Sago, tapioca, collagen, xanthan gum, guar gum, locust bean gum, vegetable purees and so on. Gelling agents like natural gums, pectins, starches, agar-agar and gelatin help in thickening and stabilizing various foods like jellies, candies and desserts.

Apart from these, there is a wide range of high-quality food thickeners available in the market which comes up as versatile substitute for thickeners for cooking. For the most health-conscious chefs of today, these cooking thickeners are preferred over the others as a better alternative to those with high fat and high cholesterol. These are used commercially in an amazing number of applications and are real boon to those concerned of health. Such versatile thickeners are able to thicken all kinds of hot and cold foods, supplement drinks and liquids without affecting the taste.