EDEN Agar Agar Bars are a traditional odorless, tasteless sea vegetable gelatin created by a long, slow process that combines a mixture of red algae sea vegetables of the Gelidium (50%) and Gracilaria (50%) species. EDEN Agar Agar is highly prized as a natural, pure vegetable quality gelatin, and a healthier alternative to commercial animal or chemical gelatins.
The eight varieties of wild sea vegetables used in EDEN Agar Agar Bars are hand harvested from pristine temperate waters in the autumn, then spread out on beaches to naturally sun dry. In the winter the dried plants are transported to the mountains where they are cooked several hours in water to soften them. This thick mixture is poured into trays and allowed to gel before cutting into bars. The bars are placed outside in snow covered rice fields, on bamboo mats suspended from short bamboo frames. During the cold of the night the gelled bars freeze solid and ice forms on the surface. In the morning when the temperature rises, the ice melts and runs off. The bars are left to repeatedly freeze and thaw for 10 days. After 10 days all of the moisture disappears resulting in lightweight, off-white bars of agar.
Unlike commercial producers of agar agar bars, EDEN Agar Agar Bars are naturally made without the use of sulfuric acid as a softening agent or inorganic bleaches and dyes used to whiten the sea vegetables and rid them of their odor. Simple boiling and outdoor freeze drying makes EDEN Agar Agar Bars a superior quality, pure vegetable gelatin containing no animal products or chemicals.
Agar agar is called 'kanten,' meaning 'cold sky' in Japanese. For over 1,200 years the Japanese have eaten a dish called 'tokoroten,' a sticky gray agar gel with a strong odor and taste. According to legend, in the 17th century a traveling lord was served tokoroten at a home outside Kyoto. After the meal was over the leftover agar gel was discarded and thrown outside where it froze overnight and became a dry, brittle mass that had turned white. The next day some daring soul found the frozen mass, took it home and cooked it to thaw it. As it cooked it became more white and had lost its strong smell and taste. Shortly thereafter a local innkeeper began serving this new version of tokoroten. A Buddhist priest later named the dish kanten. Since that time the finest agar, including EDEN Agar Agar Bars, is still processed using this original natural outdoor, freeze drying method. In contrast, commercially produced agar uses sulfuric acid to soften the tough starchy sea vegetables fibers, and bleaches and dyes to whiten the agar and remove its odor. With Eden Agar Agar Bars the outdoor freeze drying whitens and naturally removes the odor.
EDEN Agar Agar is sodium free, low in calories, and is fat and cholesterol free. It is an excellent source of dietary fiber. According to the FDA, "Low fat diets rich in fruits and vegetables (foods that are low in fat and may contain dietary fiber, Vitamin A, or Vitamin C) may reduce the risk of some types of cancer, a disease associated with many factors." EDEN Agar Agar provides 21 percent dietary fiber per serving. Also, "Diets low in sodium may reduce the risk of hypertension or high blood pressure, a disease associated with many factors."
Use EDEN Agar Agar with EDEN Apple or Cherry Juice to make an easy fruit aspic or jello. It is a superior gelatin for pie fillings, custards, puddings, fruit jams, pastry fillings, and candies. To use EDEN Agar Agar Bars, cut or break one bar into pieces and place in 3 cups of water or juice. Bring to a boil without a lid, stirring occasionally. Reduce the flame to low and simmer for 15 minutes until dissolved. For aspic, add thinly sliced fruits or vegetables, cook for 3 to 4 minutes until tender and pour into a shallow dish or mold. Set aside to gel for about 1 hour or refrigerate to hasten gelling.