Eat More Plants.

Fun with Agar.

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I made gummy candy using agar powder sometime last year. I definitely used too much agar because they gelled too quickly and were on the hard side, instead of being “gummy”. I know of course it’s difficult to get that gummy texture without using the typical ingredients, like gelatin. But I wanted to make them again and decided to google some new recipes. I came across a strawberry jello recipe that used scooped out limes as a mold and I could not pass up trying it.

I loved those fruit slice candies that came in all different colors and were coated in sugar when I was little…

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…Let’s just say this is a healthier version of those for arguments sake.

Before I get into the recipe, I’d like to go over using agar powder. There is a big difference between agar powder and agar flakes. The powder is much more potent so you’ll need to use less. You’ll also need to adjust the amount of agar if you’re adding fresh fruit with a high acidity. Kiwis will actually cause the agar not to set at all because of their acidity. I puréed strawberries and added that to cranberry juice as my jelly base. The strawberries, while not as acidic as kiwi, still required some extra agar to set up. It’s been a trial and error kind of thing for me honestly. I tried a few different recipes and they all come out different. The ratio I used this time of liquid to agar gave an apple sauce or jelly texture rather than gummy. Still delicious!

For a jelly texture use:
5 1/2 c liquid (juice & purée together)
3-4 t agar powder

For gummy texture use:
4 c liquid
6-7 T agar powder

Depending on whether or not you add acidic fruit to your liquid, you’ll have to adjust the measurements. Just plain juice won’t require more agar; the smaller measurement should work fine.

I used my immersion blender to purée 2 cups of strawberries in a saucepan with 4 cups of cranberry juice. That’s how I ended up with (approx.) 5 1/2 cups of liquid. You don’t have to have a completely smooth liquid at the end but if you’re going to use a mold with small shapes, it’s probably best not to have it chunky.

Dissolve the agar powder in your liquid and bring to a gentle boil.
Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Pour your jelly into jars or molds.
It will set up faster if you put it in the fridge, but you could leave it out for an hour or so.
Refrigerate whatever you don’t plan on eating.

Note: if you want to use the limes as molds, cut them in half and scrape out the pulp. A metal tablespoon works well as a scooper if you don’t have anything else. I’ll warn you though, it’s a HUGE pain in the butt. Also, in order to cut them in half like I have pictured above, I had to pop them in the freezer for 15-20 minutes and use a very, very sharp knife so that I could slice through the lime rind and jelly without it squishing into a giant mess.

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