Gum Arabic

Where to Buy Food Grade Gum Arabic

Locally/In-Stores
Food grade Gum Arabic can be difficult to find locally, but you might try calling around to local health food stores or specialty grocers.

Online
Gum Arabic can be purchased online, in both small and bulk quantities. This is probably your best bet if you need it for a food/drink recipe (double check that you are purchasing product marked as food grade).

Notes

  • Although it can be found in crafting and art supply stores – such as Michaels, Utrecht, Blick – most of these products are not intended for human consumption. (Of course, this is fine if you only need it for an art project and don’t plan on ingesting it.)
  • It’s worth noting that real Gum Arabic (Acacia) isn’t the same thing as “Arabic Gum” or “Mastic” – this is a resin from a different tree, Pistacia lentiscus aka “mastic tree”.
  • Complicating things further: products sold as Mastic or “Arabic Gum” might actually be Gum Arabic (Acacia), due to its lower cost. For this reason, you should be sure of which ingredient you need and buy from a trusted supplier.


What is Gum Arabic?

acacia Arabica tree

Above: acacia Arabica

Gum Arabic, also called gum acacia or E414, is a natural component made from the hardened sap of acacia trees native to some parts of Western Asia and the Middle East. Rich in polysaccharides and glycoproteins, it is one of the safest food additives used today. It is not only harmless, but also bears some nutritional benefits as being rich in fibers and a 100 percent natural ingredient. Many even refer to it as edible glue for its amazing ability to keep things together as an emulsifier and stabilizer.

Gum Arabic (Acacia) crystals have a pale white to orange-brown color, depending on which acacia tree species it was taken from, with a chunky glassy-like structure. It gives off a sweet, pleasant aroma but the type used in food usually has no taste.

Uses of Gum Arabic in Food

Gum Arabic is frequently used as food additive. The main function of this component is to help to bind two substances to become one, in a stable form. It is commonly added to soft drink syrup since it is easy to dissolve and stable in water. In addition, its use in solid foods is also popular. Food grade Gum Arabic is able to give chocolate candies a smooth, silky consistency. It also makes candies less prone to melting. It gives food products a longer period of use before expiring.

Gum Arabic, surprisingly, also creates the chewy texture of gummy candies and marshmallows. It gives that desirable elastic gummy texture, as the name suggests, that children and adults adore! The incredible stabilizing effect of Gum Arabic is also used in ice cream and icings to get that smooth finish. Though it is frequently added to food, it doesn’t change or affect the original taste at all. In fact, it makes food products more beneficial and increases the commercial value at the same time.

More Information

This video is from Gum Guru – a YouTube channel produced by TIC Gums, an industrial producer of food-grade gums.

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