The guar Gum is a high molecular weight polysaccharide comprising of up to 8 million units of galactomannans and is derived from the guar plant seeds. Its botanical name is called, Cyamopsis tetragonoloba. The guar gum powder has many uses as a thickener, stabilizer and as an emulsifier. It is approved for use in many countries of the world including the European union, the united states, Japan, Australia an African nations.
The gum is obtained after separation of the husk and the germ of the seed. Heat treatment makes it easy to separate the hull through attrition or impact milling. The endosperm is then used to obtain powdered guar Gum. Further purification produces “clarified Guar Gum”, which has higher galactomannans content as the cell structure has been removed.
Guar Gum History and Interesting Facts
The guar Gum plant is historically cultivated in India and Pakistan for many centuries. It is now also cultivated in countries of the southern hemisphere, primarily in the semi-arid areas of Brazil, Australia, and South Africa. It is also done in the southern zones of United States, in Texas and Arizona.
Notable Facts of the Guar Gum
- Insoluble in organic solvents
- Dissolves in cold water forming high viscous solution, thus the gel forming properties
- High buffering capacity and very stable in the PH range of 4.0 to 10.5
- Its gelling agent characteristics surpass most synthetic materials.
Guar Gum Nutrition Facts
There is widespread usage of the guar gum powder in the food industry primarily as a thickener. Other important facts include.
- Low in saturated fats, cholesterol and sodium.
- Good source of dietary fibre and potassium
- Helps in the management of blood cholesterol through reduction in the absorption rate of cholesterol from the small intestine.
- Slows down starch digestion rate and glucose absorption after consumption; this is important to diabetic people requiring keen management of blood glucose.
How to Use Guar Gum in Recipes
In principle guar gum is best for cold foods such as ice creams and pastry fillings. Research has shown that acidic foods may cause the guar gum to lose its thickening abilities. Citrus preparations also require a greater amount on guar gum quantity. In gluten free baking the recommended quantity of guar gum are;
- Cookies-1/4 to ½ teaspoon in a cup of flour
- Cakes and pancakes will require ¾ teaspoon in a cup of flour
- Quick breads require 1 teaspoon per flour cup
- Bread requires 1.5 to 2 teaspoons in one cup of flour
In hot foods such as gravies, stew and warm puddings, the recommended measure is 1 to 3 teaspoons in a quart of liquid. For cold foods like salad dressings, ice creams, and pudding, it is recommended 1-2 teaspoons in a quart of liquid.
The production of guar gum and subsequent usage has meant reduced reliance on synthetic gelling agents. Apart from gelling characteristics, the powder has nutritional value in terms of provision of dietary fibre, management of blood glucose and a source of other nutrients required by the body.