Organic guar gum
Guar gum is made from the seeds of the guar bean. It is not a basic ingredient of our meal replacement drinks but serves as a food additive that is listed under the name E 412. Up until the end of the Second World War, guar was mainly used as fodder, before the importance of the plant’s usability was recognized. Today, certain parts of the guar bean can be found in a huge variety of products, so much so that almost everyone around the world consumes these beans daily, often without even knowing it. The guar gum usage possibilities are practically endless. It can be used as a binding and thickening agent, as a gelling aid, a stabilizer, and a filler. Guar gum is not only referred to as E 412, but also as guar flour, guaran, guar, and guar gum.
Where do we source our organic guar gum?
The guar plant is native to the arid regions of India and Pakistan. Today the legume, known by its botanical name “Cyamopsis tetragonoloba”, is also grown in Africa, the United States, and Australia. The annual to perennial plant, which can grow up to 2 meters high, produces fruits that are around 10 centimeters long and resemble a green bean. Their seeds are about 5 millimeters in size. The flattened, cream-colored to grayish seeds are solid like pebbles. The seeds are the basic substance of the organic guar gum that BERTRAND purchases directly from organic farmers in India. Rapidly growing Indian regions, like the states of Rajasthan, Haryana, and Gujarat, are some of the world’s biggest suppliers.
How is guar gum made?
Fruit seeds are required to make guar gum. The leaves of the plant can be consumed as a vegetable, as is the case with spinach. The green legumes can also be prepared as a vegetable or salad. The ripe seeds must be cooked before consumption. They are extremely nutritious. In many cases, guar is still used today as animal feed. Most typically, however, the seeds are processed into flour.
THE PLANT IS SUITED TO DRY CONDITIONS
The guar fruit, also known as the bush, cluster, or group bean, is grown between July and December. As the plant is sensitive to cold, if possible, the temperature should be between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius during vegetation. They respond best to dry conditions because a warm, humid climate attracts pests and diseases. In terms of the soil conditions, the guar plant is very adaptable.
HARVESTING BY HAND
HARVESTING, DRYING, THRESHING
Harvesting is laboriously done by hand in India. In order to obtain the seed, the outer layers, i.e. the pods, must be removed. In doing so, the beans are first dried and subsequently threshed. Threshing is the mechanical process in which the seed (also known as a seedling, kernel, or grain, depending on the fruit) is removed from the plant shell.
THE PRODUCTION OF "GUAR-SPLITS"
FURTHER PROCESSING OF THE SEED
The outer layers of the “seeds” obtained through threshing are removed in a thermomechanical process. Then the so-called “guar splits” are produced by separating the shell and the germ. The protein-rich nutrient tissue, also known as endosperm, makes up 35 to 42 percent of the seed and is the basis for the production of guar gum. The seedling contributes 43 to 48 percent and the shell 14 to 17 percent to the guar core.
A PREMIUM PRICED PRODUCT
THE FORMATION OF GUM
The purity of guar gum is of crucial importance to the food industry. For this reason, at the end stage, the splits are finely ground using various milling processes. The end product contains 10 to 15 percent water, 5 percent protein, 2.5 percent raw fiber (dietary fiber), and 1 percent ash. The production of guar gum is relatively complex. In addition to great demand, this is one of the reasons that guar gum is a premium-priced product.
Why guar gum?
Gluten-free guar gum is a functional ingredient in numerous foods. At BERTRAND we use organic guar gum because of its ability to thicken meal replacement drinks and make it consistently creamy. This prevents crumb sediments from settling on the bottom of the BERTRAND Shaker. By using guar gum, powder elements are optimally blended into the added liquid. Since the guar gum neither has a taste of its own nor is particularly rich in nutrients, its function is limited to this role. The abundant fiber does not play a significant role either, as the amount added to the BERTRAND meal replacement drink is too small. Guar gum which, by the way, is comparable in its properties to locust bean gum, consists mainly of the vegetable gum guaran (guar gum), a vegetable mucilage. The nutrient tissue surrounding the seed, the endosperm, contains between 65 and 76 percent galactomannans, i.e. long-chain carbohydrates. About 6 to 7 percent are protein, the rest is mainly made up of the sugars mannose and galactose. This composition results in enormous water absorption and binding capacity.
What actually are food additives?
Guar gum is a food additive. While additives used to be rare (such as fumes, vinegar, sulfurous acid), the use of these substances has now increased dramatically. On the one hand, this has to do with the industrial processing of food, and on the other hand, this has to do with modern technical possibilities and research into substances and their properties. Several hundred substances have now been approved in the European Union (EU). This means that the health effects of the substance have been assessed. According to the law, a food additive is “a substance with or without nutritional value, which is usually neither consumed as a food nor used as a novel food ingredient, and is added for technological purpose during production, processing, preparation, treatment, packaging, transport, or storage, whereby it or its by-products directly or indirectly become or could become part of the food ”(VO (EG) 1333/2008 LFGB).
These include sweeteners, preservatives, antioxidants, dyes, carriers, propellants, acidulants, flavor enhancers, emulsifiers, thickeners, or simply fillers. These can be chemically completely different substances with corresponding properties. Additives are subject to the “prohibition principle with reservation of permission”. This means only substances approved for certain product groups may be used. There are limits for some.
Food additives that are approved in the EU are assigned E numbers. The E stands for “Edible” or “Europe”. The E number makes the substance distinctive. It must appear on the ingredients list of packaged foods along with the class name (e.g. preservative, gelling agent, etc.).
<li>Image at the top of the page: Sundar Graphic via Shutterstock</li>.
<li>Map of India: “World Map – Silhouette – Asia in the Center” cash1994 via Shutterstock</li>.
<li>Post image, “Fresh Green Cluster Beans On White Background Shot.” niteenrk via Shutterstock</li>