What Is Locust Bean Gum? - Cape Crystal Brands

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Have you ever wondered what makes your favorite ice cream so thick and smooth? Perhaps you've been curious about what gives salad dressings and sauces their consistent texture. The answer is likely locust bean gum.

But what is locust bean gum? This food thickener and stabilizing agent is derived from carob tree seeds. It's a popular ingredient in many products due to its unique properties.

It's both gluten-free and low-calorie—making it a fantastic choice for people with dietary restrictions or those seeking healthier alternatives. Imagine enjoying your favorite foods with the same taste and texture but with lower calories!

Learn more about locust bean gum and how it can be an integral part of your eating habits. Let's delve deeper into the benefits and uses of this versatile ingredient.

Locust bean pods ripening on the carob tree.

Locust bean pods ripening on the carob tree.

What Is Locust Bean Gum?

Locust bean gum can also be referred to as carob gum. It's derived from the seeds found on the Mediterranean carob tree.

The name comes from the Hebrew word "ḥalab" which means locust. The carob tree seeds form a gum which is a polysaccharide. This means it consists of multiple sugar molecules. It's a natural hydrocolloid.

When you add locust bean gum to food products, it binds with water and forms a thick gel. It's used as a stabilizing agent and food thickener. It helps give food items their desired texture, consistency, and stability.

Locust bean gum is often used as an emulsifier. An emulsifier is a substance that helps bind together two normally incompatible ingredients like oil and vinegar in salad dressings or mayonnaise. That's why you'll often find it listed on the ingredients of various sauces and dressings.

Benefits of Locust Bean Gum

Locust bean gum has many benefits when used in food products.

Here are just a few:

  • It helps prevent ice crystals from forming, making it ideal for use in frozen desserts like ice cream
  • Its thickening properties make it an ideal ingredient for thick sauces and gravies
  • It helps retain moisture in food products, making them more flavorful
  • Its emulsifying properties help bind together incompatible ingredients like oil and vinegar to make dressings or mayonnaise
  • It's gluten-free and low-calorie, making it a great option for those with gluten sensitivities or food allergies
  • It's low in fat and cholesterol and high in dietary fiber, making it a nutritious addition to your diet

These benefits make locus bean gum a great choice for adding texture, flavor, and consistency to food products. With its wide range of uses, it's no wonder it's become a popular ingredient in many recipes.

Locust bean gum powder (also carob powder) refined from the locust bean pods.

Locust bean gum powder (also carob powder) refined from the locust bean pods.

What Is Locust Bean Gum Mainly Used For?

The versatility of locust bean gum makes it a useful addition to many different types of food. Locust bean gum can be used in a variety of ways.

Thickening Agent

It can be used as a thickening agent for sauces, gravies, and soups. Its thickening properties help give sauces a smooth, creamy consistency. It also helps thicken and stabilize ice cream to prevent ice crystals from forming.

Emulsifier

It can be used as an emulsifier in various dressings and condiments like mayonnaise and salad dressings to help bind together ingredients like oil and vinegar.

Binder

It can also be used as a binder in bread, cakes, and other baked goods to help hold the ingredients together. Its binding properties are especially useful when making gluten-free recipes.

Stabilizer

Locust bean gum helps stabilize beverages like beer and wine to ensure they remain clear. It can also be used as a stabilizer in dairy products like yogurt, cheese, and ice cream.

Flavoring Agent

It can be used to enhance the flavor of certain foods. Adding locust bean gum to meats can help reduce their salt content while adding a subtle nutty flavor. It's frequently used as an ingredient in vegan mock meats to give them a more meat-like texture.

Locust bean gum thickens sauces.

As a thickening agent, Locust Bean Gum is used to thicken sauces, gravies, and soups. 

Is Locust Bean Gum Safe?

Locust bean gum is generally recognized as safe by the FDA. This means it's unlikely to cause adverse health effects when consumed at normal levels. It is also gluten-free and vegan.

However, those with allergies or sensitivities to certain foods may want to avoid using locust bean gum. It's important to note that it should not be consumed in large amounts as this can lead to digestive distress.

There are some alternatives to locust bean gum.

Pectin is also a natural hydrocolloid found in fruits (apple skins and citrus peels), often used in low-fat ice creams to improve texture and stabilize the mix.

Xanthan gum is a polysaccharide (made from corn) produced through fermentation, which enhances viscosity and stabilizes the ice cream.

Where can you find Locust Bean Gum?

Locust bean gum is typically found in the baking aisle, and the health food section of most supermarkets.

You might also find it labeled as carob bean gum or carob gum. It's often sold as a white powder in small packets or tubs.

For a wider variety, consider specialty food stores or online marketplaces.

How to use Locust Bean Gum in Recipes

Using locust bean gum in your recipes is simple. Generally, you'll only need a small amount due to its high thickening capacity.

Start with approximately one-quarter to half a teaspoon per cup of liquid for a mild thickening effect. Remember that it's always better to add less at first—as you can always add more later.

It's also important to mix locust bean gum with your dry ingredients before adding it to wet ingredients. This will help prevent clumping and ensure a smooth texture in your dishes.

Looking For Quality Ingredient Supplier?

Now that we've answered what is locust bean gum, you know that it's a versatile and safe ingredient. Use it to improve the texture and consistency of all your favorite recipes from frozen desserts to freshly baked bread.

If you're looking for a quality supplier for high-quality locust bean gum, and other unique ingredients, visit Cape Crystal Brands. Not only do they provide top-notch ingredients, but they also offer a plethora of recipe ideas to get you started today.

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