A thickening agent is a product that can be mixed with food to improve its texture.
They are often used for people who have difficulty swallowing solid foods, such as those with dysphagia or those undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy. There are different types of thickening agents that have different degrees of thickness and taste.
Thickening agents can be used as a natural additive to food as well as for other purposes. These additives come in various forms, such as powders, crystals, and liquids. Each type of thickener has its own merits and drawbacks, which should be taken into consideration before usage.
What are Thickening Agents?
Thickening agents are substances that are added to food to increase the viscosity and thicken the texture.
Thickening agents can be found in almost all types of foods. They can be used in soups, sauces, condiments, gravies, stews, etc.
Thickening agents like Xanthan gum or guar gum are used for this purpose. These additives do not significantly change the taste or flavor of the food they are added to.
Why are Thickening Agents Important?
Thickening agents are used to making food more substantial and filling. They also give the food a consistency that is desired by the consumer.
There are many different kinds of these thickening agents – including starches, gums, and eggs – all with their own specific properties that affect how they should be used in recipes. Thickeners work by trapping air bubbles and making the solution less runny.
Thickeners may come as a powder or a liquid, such as SimplyThick beverage thickener, that can be added to other ingredients in order to make a thinner liquid into a thicker substance.
Types of Thickeners & What They Can Help With
Understanding why you need a thickener in the first place will help you to know which one to use.
Allergies or sensitivities are also considerations when choosing what type of thickener to use. For example, agar agar is typically considered more natural than cornstarch, but some people may have allergies or sensitivities to it, which may make it unsuitable.
Common Foods With Thickeners Included
Thickening agents are commonly used in the food industry to make food products like custard, ice cream, sauces, and soup seem more full.
In a medical setting, thickening agents are typically used in the area of dysphagia (swallowing difficulties) when it becomes difficult to swallow foods or fluids. Thickener supplements sometimes contain fiber supplements like psyllium which can help with constipation and gas relief.
How to Choose Which Thicker is Right for You & Your Recipe Needs
Different thickening agents work better for certain recipes.
You should choose a thickener that will not interfere with the other ingredients in your recipe, and that is gluten-free for those who have a gluten intolerance or allergy.
Some of the most common reasons people use a thickener in their recipes is because they have dietary restrictions or they want to make vegan recipes, but because different people tend to have different needs, it’s important to know this before choosing what type of thickener your recipe should include.
Subscribe to Jebiga for a dose of the best in gear, design, rides, tech and adventure.