Carrageenan was first heard in the 1930s as it made its first debut in the industrial word. However, this chemical compound was already being used in China in the early centuries and there is evidence to show that ancient communities regularly used it as a food product. It is derived from an edible sea weed and what is even most interesting is that this compound can be prepared from home. The largest producer of carrageenan is the Philippines and china is them exporter of the products. After the harvest period, this sea weed goes through a process which involves drying and then it is baled and later sent to the manufacturer. The process contains which includes removing impurities after which it is washed thoroughly.
The different types industrial processing
- Semi refined; the raw weed is sorted and impurities are removed by use of hands. After the washing process, the weed is boiled in hot alkali. This process is useful in increasing the gel strength. The end result is what is referred to as semi reined carrageenan and it is mainly found in the Philippines.
- Refined; the compound is firsts dissolved and then it is filtered i order to remove cell debris.
- Mixed processing; in this process, alcohol and high salts levels are added to inhibit dissolution. This type of carrageenan is mainly found in the South America as this is where sea weeds have naturally low cellulose levels.
There has been a lot of discussion on this product and you might be having mixed feelings regarding its safety. In order to better understand what Carrageenan is, you first need to look at its chemical components. This ingredient is from a family of linear sulfated polysaccharide. It is mainly used as a food thickener and stabilizer because of their strong binding properties.