Xanthan gum is a versatile and valuable ingredient commonly used as a thickener, stabilizer, and emulsifier in various food and non-food products. It is made by fermenting sugar with bacteria, then separating and drying the resulting gum. Xanthan gum is vegan, gluten-free, and calorie-free, making it a versatile option for various dietary needs.
Store xanthan gum in an airtight container in a dark and cool place. Best to use glass jars and avoid metal as it can react with xantham gum and affect its quality. Avoid storing the xanthan gum near hot or cold temperatures as these areas experience temperature fluctuations that can negatively affect the gum.
Having leftover xanthan gum is never a bad thing. You can use it to prevent ice cream from creating ice crystals. You can add it to soups and stews to thicken them up. Even when making a homemade hair mask, add the xanthan gum to your mixture to make it thicker or mix it with other thickening agents when baking, such as cornstarch or arrowroot starch.
Xanthan gum is actually a byproduct of bacteria! The specific culprit is Xanthomonas campestris, a friendly bacteria that feasts on sugar and excretes this versatile gum.
Did you know that astronauts use xanthan gum in space when storing their food to prevent crumbs and liquids from floating around in zero gravity?
Another interesting fact is that xanthan gum holds the Guinness World Record for the longest polymer molecule ever discovered? That's right, this slippery substance takes the crown for length, proving that sometimes the smallest ingredients can pack the biggest punch.
Xanthan gum is a strong thickening agent so be careful when using it. Start with ⅛ of a teaspoon first before adding more. If using some highly acidic stuff such as lemon juice or vinegar, using xanthan gum will most likely not have the effect you’d want, rather, your dish might be too runny or have an uneven texture.
While it doesn't offer direct nutritional benefits like vitamins or minerals, its properties can indirectly contribute to some potential health advantages. Xanthan gum helps thicken and stabilize gut contents, potentially reducing reflux and aiding digestion in individuals with certain digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Some studies suggest xanthan gum may slow down the absorption of sugars in the digestive tract, potentially aiding blood sugar control. Xanthan gum's thickening properties can contribute to a feeling of fullness, potentially reducing overall calorie intake.
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