This standard yet magical ingredient is present in most store-bought ice creams. In fact, it is one of their secret ingredients. Here is a great article we wrote for Super Creamy Vanilla Ice Cream. You'll enjoy the read - even better you'll enjoy the taste!
Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but it’s definitely something you would wish you had known about sooner.
So, why don't we unravel this secret a bit more?
Let's get started...
Tara Gum: Some Quick Details
What Is Tara Gum?
Tara gum is a white or yellow (edible) powder, which is soluble in hot water and partially soluble in cold water.
Certain forms of Tara gum can be certified organic, and it is generally believed to be certified halal and kosher as well.
How Is Tara Gum Produced?
Tara gum is essentially obtained by grinding the seeds of the Caesalpinia spinose plant.
First, the seeds are threshed from the pods and then sieved to remove any contaminants.
Next, the seeds are roasted to break the stiff and hard external hull and to get rid of the germ and husk.
Afterward, Tara gum is obtained in the form of split, which is then milled with deionized water and sieved to create commercially viable powdered Tara gum.
Well, you’d be surprised to know how many day-to-day groceries you get contain Tara gum.
To name a few, you’ll find it in bread, dairy goods, sweets, water jellies, low-sugar jam and jelly, and of course, ice cream.
Speaking of ice cream, let’s go into detail about how much you can elevate the texture of your ice cream just by adding this simple, natural ingredient.
Is It Safe to Add Tara Gum to Ice Cream?
So, by now, you know that Tara gum is a stabilizer, and you probably have some doubts about it in your mind.
Despite the benefits of stabilizers, their usage in ice cream is generally viewed with suspicion or downright hostility.
There are likely two primary reasons for this:
Incorrect Perception of Stabilizers
The unusual names, powdery appearance, and E numbers cultivate the idea that stabilizers are somehow unhealthy.
However, there’s nothing to worry about.
As we mentioned earlier, Tara gum comes from completely natural sources, and it has been used in foods since its discovery in the middle of the eighteenth century.
Over Stabilized Ice Creams
Stabilizers might cause your ice cream to have an overly sticky or chewy texture if used in excess. They can also melt quite unnaturally and frequently leave a pasty aftertaste in your mouth.
But that is because of improper use of stabilizers.
If you use Tara gum in your recipes properly and in adequate amounts, you wouldn't even realize it’s there at all. Your ice cream will turn out so well; you'll be amazed!
Speaking of recipes, we have some good ones for you (towards the end of the blog) to help you achieve your ice cream dreams, so don’t forget to check them out!
Ripening pods from the Caesalpinia spinosa Tara tree and refined Tara gum powder.
Tara Gum, Stabilizers, and Ice Cream
Let's be honest: as much as you would want your homemade ice creams to turn out perfect, they generally aren't that successful.
We've discussed that already, but what's the reason?
So, here's the thing.
You make your homemade ice cream with equipment that can’t compete with the latest commercial ice cream makers and soft serve machines.
Sure, you can find some pricey tools that will match your expectations a tad better, but the problem remains making ice cream and sorbets is difficult, even for some professionals.
We mentioned that Tara gum could be your savior to match that quality you enjoy from store-bought ice cream. So, let’s go into detail about how exactly you can benefit from it:
Reduced Ice Crystal Formation
Given that many ice cream ingredients, like milk, cream, and flavorings, are primarily made up of water, it is only logical that when you freeze your ice cream, it tends to solidify in chunks.
Now there are two ways for these ice crystals to form:
In The Ice Cream Maker
If you have sharp eyes, you might have already noticed the ice crystals initially appearing against the extremely chilled edges of your ice cream maker.
After scraping them off the sides, the spinning dasher then moves them into the middle of the ice cream mixture.
Of course, the crystals may melt here because of warmer temperatures and then refreeze as the temperature of the entire mixture drops.
In The Freezer
Yes, that’s right.
Numerous temperature changes during ice cream storage may lead to the melting and refreezing of the ice crystals.
For example, whenever you open and close your freezer door or when the ice cream is defrosted after being brought out to soften (before serving).
So, for all of us who enjoy making (and eating) ice cream, the test is to keep the ice crystals as small as possible in the ice cream maker AND prevent them from growing larger during the storage phase.
There is a lot of evidence to support the idea that stabilizers, such as Tara Gum, only limit ice crystal growth after storage. However, other studies prove that the initial size of the ice crystals created during batch freezing is also smaller in mixes that use stabilizers.
This means you can savor your delicious homemade ice cream completely free of super annoying ice crystals.
But how does it work?
Well, it's likely because Tara gum restricts water's free flow and prevents melted ice crystals from tracing and combining with pre-existing ice crystals when they refreeze.
That's no less than magic now, is it?
Tara gum permits a significant degree of "overrun."
What's that, though?
Overrun is essentially how much air ends up in the finished ice cream or sorbet.
In most cases, the overrun in ice cream from stores is around 100%, which means that air makes up 50% of its volume.
But with ice cream made with mediocre ice cream makers, you may not get a lot of overrun.
So, if you've ever tried to scoop ice cream and ended up with an unwanted arm workout, you could use some Tara gum.
It will help increase the amount of air in your ice cream mix.
The resulting ice cream would then be lighter, creamier, and allow you to enjoy every bite without a brain freeze.
Have you ever had that moment where you were trying to enjoy your ice cream slowly, only to have it spill all over your clothes?
What a bummer, isn’t it?
This is why some very important quality factors for any ice cream include a gradual meltdown, decent shape preservation, and slower foam collapse.
It's no rocket science, though.
Tara gum can help here as well because it both slows the ice cream's melting rate and helps the ice cream keep its shape while melting.
Part of this can be attributed to Tara gum's ability to bind water; it is viscous, and such mixtures simply melt slower.
What About the Taste?
The benefits of Tara gum are surely undeniable, but what about the taste? Does it leave any unpleasant odor in your ice cream mixture?
The good news is that it doesn’t.
Tara gum is almost 100% odorless and tasteless and has a pretty good flavor release.
Tara Gum versus Other Stabilizers
So, you’ve heard quite a lot about the miracles of Tara gum, but how is it better than the other stabilizers already available on the market?
You can find numerous other ingredients that can help with the texture of your ice cream, sorbet, or gelato.
The most popular ones are guar gum and xanthan gum, which are also thickeners and can help improve the texture of frozen desserts.
Although xanthan gum is the most widely available thickener, xanthan gum doesn't really work as well. Its subdued flavor and sticky mouthfeel can create a chewy, undesirable ice cream consistency.
With Tara gum, this is typically not a problem.
Guar gum, as opposed to Xanthan Gum, produces a creamy texture and is more suitable for both sorbets and ice creams.
It is ideally used for sorbets since you can add it to a cold mixture, preserving the flavor of fresh fruit that might otherwise be lost in a heated concoction.
In fact, Tara gum belongs to the same chemical family as guar gum.
Tara gum shares a lot of common characteristics with guar gum but has some advantages:
Guar gum has an unpleasant strong "beany" flavor, while Tara gum is tasteless and odorless. Also, Tara gum releases flavors more effectively than guar gum.
While guar gum has a more pseudo-plastic flow, Tara gum has a silkier, more natural flow.
Guar gum can frequently cause stringy drips that are hard to deal with in an ice cream mix; Tara gum has a supple, smooth texture.
Tara gum can provide a very soft gel structure when combined with Xanthan gum in ice cream recipes.
Tara gum is more cost-effective than guar gum.
Two Great Ice Cream Recipes Using Tara Gum
Recipe 1:Vanilla Ice Cream
Who could say no to a scoop of delicious, creamy vanilla ice cream?
This rich, creamy, and easy-to-make French-style ice cream displays the true essence of vanilla.
Serve it in an ice cream sandwich, and you'll see your family members devour it within minutes.
2 cups of milk
2 cups heavy cream
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup ground sugar
1 tablespoon Pure Vanilla or Vanilla Extract
1/4 teaspoon Tara gum for a rich texture
[You can alternatively swap out the milk and heavy cream for around 4 cups of half-and-half.]
Over medium-high heat, pour the milk and cream into a saucepan and bring it to a slight boil.
Next, remove the pot from the heat, stir in the vanilla or (vanilla extract), and leave it at room temperature for approximately half an hour.
Add in your egg yolks, sugar, and of course, Tara gum in a separate saucepan. Mix it well and beat the mixture until it turns fluffy. Then add the lukewarm milk into the egg mixture.
Stir the egg mixture + milk, heat it over low heat, and keep stirring it using a heatproof spatula with short intervals. As the concoction thickens, it should resemble heavy cream and likely reach a temperature around 180 degrees Fahrenheit on a digital thermometer.
The next step is to remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture drop to room temperature. Keep stirring it for a while, even at this stage, to prevent any lumps from forming.
To store your ice cream, transfer it to an airtight container and freeze the mixture overnight or for at least 2-3 hours.
However, if you prefer smooth, creamy (soft serve) ice cream, you should serve your ice cream right away.
Some Extra Tips
Few things compare to eating ice cream straight from the tub, but baked goods pair especially well with vanilla ice cream's floral kick.
So, if you have guests over and you really want to impress them, serve a scoop of ice cream alongside warm brownies, blueberry cobbler, or an apple pie slice.
If you like your ice cream super sweet, you can increase the sugar to 2/3 cups.
Before putting your ice cream in the freezer, place a sheet of plastic wrap immediately over the surface to complement the effect of Tara gum and prevent ice crystals from forming.
Recipe 2: Delicious Vegan Vanilla Ice Cream
Nothing compares to a rich and delicious serving of handmade ice cream, even if it’s vegan.
Dairy-free and egg-free, this delectable ice cream is surprisingly creamy and decadent.
Simple yet delicious, this recipe makes for a brilliant base. You can easily use any additional ingredients you want to take your ice cream game to the next level.
1 can whole coconut milk
1 cup extra creamy almond milk
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup cubed strawberries or other fruit,
vegan chocolate chips or sprinkles,
1 tsp vanilla extract.
1/2 tsp Tara gum
Blend all ingredients in a blender on high for 4-5 minutes, or until the mixture becomes thick and creamy.
Transfer the mixture to an airtight container and let it chill for a couple of hours until the consistency is thicker.
Next, put the cold mixture in an ice cream machine and churn it as directed by the manufacturer (you may only need to churn it for only half the amount of suggested churn time). If you’re putting in any extra ingredients, do so gradually in the final few minutes of churning.
No ice cream maker? No worries! You can simply pour the ice cream mixture—that you have already refrigerated in the freezer—into a shallow container (glass or metal). When the mixture is almost hard but still soft enough to stir, place it in your freezer's coldest unit. However, you will have to stir your ice cream occasionally for the next 2-3 hours with a hand mixer to keep it airy and rich.
Again, you can serve it right away for a frozen custard-like texture that is incredibly creamy, smooth, and soft.
If not, move the ice cream to an airtight container and freeze it for 30 to 60 minutes to give it a firmer texture.
If frozen for an extended period, your ice cream must thaw at room temperature before you serve it (thaw times can vary based on your room temperature)
An Extra Tip
Similar to traditional dairy-based ice cream, your vegan ice cream can benefit greatly from some add-ons such as dark chocolate chips, bite-sized vegan brownies or cookies, edible vegan cookie dough, and vegan fudge.
Whether you are a professional chef or just someone who likes experimenting with food, you can add unbelievable richness and taste to your ice creams, custards, and gelatos with a touch of Tara gum.
It’s time you wave goodbye to all your ice cream woes and make delightfully tasty ice cream with Tara gum.
This simple and cost-effective ingredient outperforms current natural thickeners on the market in terms of texture, odor, and taste and is completely vegan too. What more could you ask for?
Try out your favorite ice cream recipes today using Tara gum!