In the seaweed, Agar Agar, which comes from the rocky coasts of the East India islands, we have a most delightful vegetable gelatine. Besides being clean and pure and sweet, it is inexpensive. An ounce of Agar Agar will solidify from two to four times as much liquid as an ounce of animal gelatine. The method of its use is very simple.
Pour water that feels quite hot to the ringer over the gelatine and let it stand covered in a warm place for an hour or longer. When ready to use, drain and to the hot water drained off add sufficient boiling water to make 4 cups (1 qt.) for each ounce of gelatine. Pour over gelatine and cook (taking care that it does not boil over) in covered vessel until clear, which will be in not over 2 or three minutes if the gelatine was well soaked.
For fruit juices and nearly all liquids, 1 oz. is sufficient for 16 cups (4 qts.), including the water in which it was boiled. The exceptions will be noted in the recipes. This proportion makes that delicate, quaking jelly always so desirable.
In warm weather a little more gelatine may be required, and the proportions vary slightly with different qualities of gelatine.
Keep cooked gelatine warm by setting dish in hot water (may be cooked in inner cup of double boiler, then set into outer boiler) until ready to use.
Leave molds quite wet. Set in cold room or on ice or in ice water. When cold surroundings are not obtainable, use a smaller proportion of liquid. Do not unmold until just before serving time.
If for any reason gelatine becomes solidified or partly so after boiling, before molding, boil it up again as nothing less than boiling heat will make it smooth.
When the gelatine is to be cooked in stock or milk, do not have water for soaking quite so hot.
Unless a very transparent jelly is desired, straining after cooking is unnecessary with a good quality of gelatine. The very cheapest quality may require several strainings but I question the economy of its use. Strain, if at all, through a double thickness of cheese cloth (wrung out of hot water) into a hot vessel.
Pour cooked gelatine into liquid all at once, stir just enough to mix well, and turn immediately into molds. Do not stir while cooling.
For freezing, use 1/3 - 1/2 less of gelatine and 1/3 more of sugar in recipes.
To unmold jelly, run a thin bladed knife around the edge carefully, when necessary; turn the dish on which it is to be served over it and invert quickly; shake gently. If the mold was not drained too much, there will be no necessity for using a warm, wet cloth or warm water to loosen jelly.
Use jellies with fresh pineapple the day they are prepared.
If directions are followed carefully, vegetable gelatine desserts will be found among the easiest to prepare, as well as very delightful.
The recipes are all for Agar Agar or gelatine in bulk.
In each recipe, the quantity of water in which the gelatine is to be cooked immediately follows it.