This article will answer your question about “Where to find agar powder in grocery store?”
Although its origins are disputed, some histories point to the discovery of agar by the Mino Tarozaemon in Japan, in the year 1658. Subsequently, in the Southeast Asian region, it quickly became popular as a gelling alternative in different cuisines across the subcontinent. Today, it is the go-to option for dessert makers around the world.
Boi-chemically speaking, agar is found in the cells walls of the red algae species. These red algae possess high concentrations of chlorophyll, proteins, trace elements, vitamins, and some fatty acids that generally combine to help boost the immune system and body energy reserves when ingested.
Agar powder is a derived food ingredient with origins in Asia, where it has been used for several years. It is a gelatinous substance, of which the primary component is red algae. The latter is a type of seaweed. Popular with vegetarians as it is a plant derivative, agar is also referred to commonly as agar-agar.
Agar powder is tasteless and odorless and is used in making desserts and other dishes. It is even more popular as a spice because it does not change the smell or the taste of food. While substances like gelatin take longer to set, agar takes much less time to set, even at room temperature.
This means that agar is often the ingredient of choice in the making of ice creams, as they make them firmer and less likely to scatter; they can keep for longer for the same reason as they are less likely to melt than ice cream made with regular gelatin. It is usually green in color, and has been said to possess an excellent feel or texture when ingested.
Agar is highly popular in Japan, where it is known by another name- kanten. Agar powder is free of sugar, salt, gluten, milk, or eggs, making it the perfect culinary choice for vegetarians. It is used to thicken soups and is used for other viscous foods like jelly and jam. The reason agar is so popular as a thickener for ice cream is that it cannot be degraded by invading toxic bacteria, which is often the pitfall of gelatin.
The uniqueness of agar powder is such that it has other uses outside of culinary matters; it is also used in cosmetics, beverages and in sizing fabrics. In addition, agar powder can be used in dental matters, weight loss schemes, and in treating indigestion and diabetes. As a laxative, it is an excellent choice seeing as it acts on the intestinal wall, causing movement of the bowels.
Where to Find Agar Powder in Grocery Store? Which Aisle
When searching the aisles of grocery stores for agar powder, it is best to initially look out for them in the baking section or aisle. As it is a powdery substance, it is almost always packaged in pouches or tiny to medium-sized bags of some sort.
Depending on the category of groceries sold in your locale, you are also likely to find agar powder in the aisle dedicated to natural foods. As it is a derivative of red algae, it is often classified in that category. It’s a very healthy ingredient too!
Agar powder qualifies as a food supplement or diet aid. Thus, it can be found in the aisle for supplements. The packaging will almost always be small: other than pouches, small bottles are inclusive.
If your local grocery store does not have any of the above sections physically designated, another option is checking the unit dedicated to Asian foods in the international aisle. Here, you are less likely to find the powdered form of the substance; chances are you’ll find the flaked type.
Your last searching option should be the bulk aisle, where you have some chance of finding it hiding among other colourful bottles.
The following stored are great places to begin your search:
- Amazon: Amazon has a global reputation, soo is truly no surprise that it tops this list. Amazon is excellent when you are looking for rare ingredients that are difficult to find locally. It is ideal to buy agar powder in bulk, seeing how expensive it is.
- Local Food/Grocery Store: Naturally, this would be your first option. If you adhere to the instructions stated in the previous sub-section, you are sure to find it. In addition, you can find it in stores that specifically sell health foods.
- Walmart: Walmart is also a great choice. They stock up on agar powder of different brands.
- Whole Foods: Whole Foods is a better option if your intention is to buy in bulk, which is always advised.
As you make your choices and consider where to buy agar powder, it is important to note these points:
- Type: Agar is not agar. Although its powdered form is more popular, you must ensure that the form you’re purchasing will work well with your recipe. For example, the flakes are best for some recipes while only the powder will do for others.
- Authenticity: As a popular yet expensive ingredient, you should make sure you’re buying the real thing, which is odorless and colorless. Look out for brands that offer mixed blends.
Best Agar Powder Alternatives
Below are three great alternatives to agar powder
- Xanthan gum: This relatively new substance can be used as a thickener across different recipes. As a substitute for agar powder, it’s pretty much efficient, despite its exorbitant cost on average.
- Guar gum: Possessing good thickening properties, guar gum is mostly grown in India. It is also free of gluten, with good fiber content. It is usually sold in stores as a health product.
- Carrageenan: This ingredient is a seaweed derivative and a fairly good substitute for agar powder. Its health benefits are a matter of scientific contention, however.
Exciting ways of Using Agar Powder
If you are looking to make vegetarian cheese, agar powder is a great choice as it ensures that the cheese is firm and creamy. Just as well, you can use agar powder to make vegan yummy bears and different kinds of candy. You can always try it out with other exciting flavours too!