Gelatin, also called gelatine, is a glue like substance used mostly as a gelling agent in the kitchen. It also has important uses in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals (most pharmaceutical capsules are made of gelatin) and cosmetics. It is used in food products such as jello (jelly), trifle, candy corn, marshmallows and in candy products like gummy bears. It may also be used in jelly (jam), yogurt, margarine, cream cheese and in beer and wine. It can also be purchased separately and used in home cooking.
What is gelatin made from?
Gelatin can be made out of a variety of different things, but most commonly it is made out of the skins of pigs, pig and cow bones or cow hides. These are by-products of the meat and leather industry and are widely available for commercial production of gelatin. The production of gelatin takes a few weeks because the materials must be prepared and processed. A popular urban legend suggests that horns and hooves are used to produce gelatin, but these are not used in commercial production. Gelatine must be tested for various harmful microorganisms, such an salmonella, before it is approved for use.
There is some research being done into using fish by-product for the production of gelatin. This could make gelatin a suitable ingredient for those people that have religious or moral issues with other meat products.