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What is Guar Gum?

Hey Chef; what’s Guar Gum?

Guar gum, also called guaran, simply put… is a food stabilizer.
It does have some nutritional value, but only in miniscule amounts.

Guar seed in hand

Guar gum is extracted from the guar bean (principally grown in India and Pakistan). It is primarily the ground surrounding seed tissue of guar beans.

Guar Gum is actually Guar flour. The husks of guar seeds are removed, milled, and then screened to obtain the guar gum. It is typically produced as a free flowing, pale, off-white colored, coarse to fine ground powder.

Guar gum powder

In baked goods, it increases the dough yield, improves texture, and extends the shelf life. It is primarily used in hypoallergenic recipes that use different types of whole grain flours. Because the consistency of these flours allows the escape of gas released by leavening, guar gum is needed to improve the thickness of these flours, allowing them to rise as normal flour would.

Used in creamy pastry fillings, puddings, icings, and glazes it prevents "weeping" of the water in the filling.

Guar plant collage

Guar gum retards ice crystal growth and is used in frozen fruits, sherbets, sorbets, and protects the smooth texture of ice creams. Other dairy products like yogurt, kefir, and liquid cheese products all use the thickening and stabilizing properties of Guar Gum to ensure consistency and quality.

It is also used in cosmetic creams, toothpaste, and lotions. Medically, it is used as a bulk laxative, (Benefiber according to wisegeek.com), as an appetite suppressant, and in the treatment of peptic ulcers.

In 1976 the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved Guar Gum as a stabilizer when used at .35% in baked goods, 1.2% in breakfast cereals, 1.2% in gravies, 2% in oils and fats, and 1% in toppings, syrups, and sauces. It also constitutes 2% in processed vegetables and vegetable juices.

The FDA placed Guar Gum on the GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) list in 1980. In large amounts, Guar Gum can cause flatulence, nausea, and abdominal cramps. Guar Gum is expected to keep its GRAS status if used in the FDA specified amount.