Xanthan Gum

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    Xanthan gum was approved for food use in 1968 and is accepted as a safe food additive in the United States and most other countries.  At typical use levels (in most foods at concentrations of 0.5% or less), it does not change either the color or flavor of food and beverages and is widely used for its ability to hold particles of food together.  While not an emulsifier itself, xanthan gum does stabilize emulsions and is thus a common ingredient in a wide range of commercially available food products as a stabilizer and thickener.

    A natural carbohydrate, Xanthan Gum is produced from the fermentation of corn sugar, deriving its name from Xanthomonas campestris, the species of bacteria used during the fermentation process.  Xanthan gum is added to products like gravies, ice cream, salad dressings, sauces, sour cream and yogurt to provide a smooth and creamy texture.  Gluten-free bakers use xanthan gum to give batters and doughs a thickness that is normally provided by gluten.  Xanthan gum also replaces the fat and emulsifiers found in egg yolks and is thus used to thicken commercial egg substitutes.  Its ability to help suspend solid particles is also used by bartenders to increase a cocktail’s aesthetic appeal and also change a drink’s viscosity or to create a variety of foams.

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