Gum Tragacanth

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Gum Tragacanth comes from a plant found in the Middle East and has a faintly gluey taste. Gum tragacanth is a gum used to make pastillage gum paste for sugar flowers and decorative cake work. Tragacanth can also be used as a thickener, emulsifier and suspending agent.

Gum tragacanth comes from the sap of Middle Eastern legumes of the genus, Astralagus. The tree bark is removed in springtime (February - May). After 3 weeks or so, the tears of gum are removed, dried, bleached in the sun and cleaned.

Overview of Tragacanth's Characteristics

Category Comments
Applications Suspending agent, flavour encapsulator, sugar crystal inhibitor.
Rate of hydration Moderate
Gel strength Acid stable, imparts excellent mouthfeel.
Colour Cream powder
Solubility Cold
pH solubility 2.5 - 10.0
Dosage 0.5 - 1.5%

Further Reading

  • Dowell, P., Bailey, A. (1980) The Book of Ingredients, Dorling Kindersley. ISBN 0718119150.
  • Stobart, T. (1981) The Cook's Encyclopedia: ingredients & processes, Harper & Row. ISBN 0060141271.