Gelatin is an animal protein that comes from the hides, bones, cartilage, tendons, and skin of cows, pigs and horses. It is what makes Jell-O gel and gummy bears soft and pliable. It is also used to thicken some yogurts, ice creams and other foods. It's in the capsules, gel caps, and coatings of many over-the counter supplements and prescription drugs....
Hoping to put consumers, worried about cattle and mad cow disease at ease, Clair Regan of Kraft Foods, announced, "We use mostly pork gelatin to make our Jell-O."
Agar vs. GelatinAgar, made from seaweed, works similarly to gelatin, with a few key differences. It sets at room temperature and can be boiled and reheated withouit losing its gelling ability. (Not so with gelatin).<P>Agar is available as bars (called kanten), powder, and flakes. Bars, the purest form, are somewhat labor-intensive and not widely available. Powder has great thickening ability and dissolves quickly. Use one tablespoon per cup of liquid.
Note: The gelling power of agar is affected by acidity--lemon dessert filling requires twice the normal amount of powder. Also, fruits that contain certain enzymes, such as pineapple, will impair agar's ability to gel.