Truly indeed, despite the fact that we may only see the word “carrageenan” written on the labels of a lot of products we use or food we consume on a regular basis, there are different kinds of carrageenan, as they could also be categorized based on their specific use and properties when it comes to solidification and gelling. Carrageenan side effects associated with the ingestion of whatever type of carrageenan, whether it be Iota, Kappa, or Lambda, are not an issue to be worried about at all, and the Iota carrageenan would be the point of focus on this article.
What is Iota Carrageenan?
As previously mentioned, there are three different kinds of Carrageenan, and Iota is one of them. Just like the Lambda Carrageenan, it is also a hydrocolloid which is natural, and have a special type of red seaweed as their source. It is mainly used as an stabilizer for emulsified products, is a binder, thickener, and an agent for gelling. It is soluble in cold substances, and takes on a gel form at high temperatures, specifically above 80 degrees Celsius. Just like Lambda Carrageenan as well, it has an ability to flex in helical structures. In terms of its molecular structure, it is composed of 2 Sulfur atoms attached to a single disaccharide molecule, one less than the Lambda Variety. Given its difference, it is capable of gelling, or creating more viscous products which still, have several applications.
Where is it found?
Given that it could also possess characteristics similar to that of Lambda Carrageenan, there are some applications of Iota Carrageenan that are similar to it as well. In smaller concentrations, Iota Carrageenan could also help to give non-dairy or powdered milk the same creamy mouth feel there is, specifically between a mere 0.025 to 0.035%. Also, since it is more capable of creating gel-like substances, it could also be found in cakes, pies, and puddings which are mass-produced, as the presence of Lambda Carrageenan could also give pies, puddings, and cakes, specifically mouse, the jelly-like feature we all look for in these foods. Other food products in which Lambda Carrageenan is made use of includes cakes, such as carrot and chocolate of the flourless variety, and almond cream custard. Jelly treats for kids and adults alike are also a popular application of Iota carrageenan.
The single sulphur atom removed from the disaccharide molecule sets it apart from other carrageenan types in more ways than one, which is obviously visible by its gelling properties alone. The dispersion process of carrageenan is facilitated with sugar and alcohol, given that jelly mixes which are made from carrageenan also has certain proportions of this, all depending on the company manufacturing it. It is capable of setting even at high temperatures of 40 to 70 degrees Celsius, and melts at about 5 degrees higher than the setting temperature.
Where to buy
Since the Iota Carrageenan is used in cakes and pastries, you could opt to look for this particular type of carrageenan in pantry shops and in other groceries.