When food bulging is the topic, the first thing that come accross my mind is the deformed canned sardine. Deformation not cause by dropping or other strong external forces. Instead, the cause is from the inside.
Anaerobic microorganisms, for some reasons, start to grow. Feeding on protein rich media and giving off carbon dioxide. It accumulates and push the thin can wall farther away resulting in bulge appearance.
Bulged canned foods are dangerous. It became the rule of thumb to discard on sight.
Bulging foods also occur in packed crackers. The package is normally inflated with inert gas, protecting contents from external pressure and preventing the absorption of moisture resulting to thoughness. However there are times when the amount of gas inside is not normal. It is like a balloon that may pop anytime soon.
Same thing with instant juice drink in doy pouches. It looks like overfilled but in reality, it is not fit for the taking.
The next thing I saw puzzled me a little. Why would this instant gulaman powder go bulge. There was nothing in there but seaweed extract. I thought of it for a while. Then inspected the label. I saw sugar.
So what is the deal with sugar being in there?
If it so happen the product is contaminated with yeast and other conditions are met, fermentation may occur, producing some carbon dioxide in the process. Amount enough to make package appearance abnormal.
I opened it up and surprised. The gulaman powder appearance and aroma are perfectly normal. For a moment I thought it was fine and wanna cook delectable gelatine. However, the rule of thumb is discard any bulging food items. A pack of suspicious instant gulaman is not worth risking for.
1/2 cup tapioca
1 sachet Mr. Gulaman powder, cubes
1 kilo ripe mango, cubes
300 ml Carnation Condensada
250 ml all purpose cream
Pour six cups water in casserole. Stir continuously while sprinkling one sachet Mr. Gulaman powder. Bring to boil. Add sugar according to taste preference. Remove casserole off stove. Let cool. Cut to 1/2 x 1/2 inch cubes. Set aside.
Boil tapioca until plump and soft. Cool. Set aside.
Drain cooked tapioca pearl. Mix with gulaman cubes. Add condensada and all purpose cream. Stir. Add ripe mango cubes. Stir. Cover and refrigerate. Serve cold.
When the drink mix called Zagu came to existence, it became talk of the town. It was like a trending topic on Twitter and a very popular video on YouTube. It seemed like every person I talked to was wanting to have zagu. Uncountable number of businesses popped like mushrooms. However, like mushrooms, majority of them are short live. Very few lasted. The brand Zagu is one of the very few.
Zagu based from the word sago, are tiny hard beads which become large jelly-like marbles when soaked in boiling water. They are popular as flavoring or more accurately as decorations to street samalamig. The lowly sago became so popular when the zagu craze boomed.
To make sagu, mixture of crushed ice and flavoring of choice are mixed in blender. The flavorings perhaps have emulsifier, the likes of pectin, carrageenan and carboxymethylcellulose. Such is necessary to hold bubbles and maintain the foamy structure. The formed mixture is then added with cooked sago, gulaman in some instances, capped and inserted with straw.
The ambiance inside the department store is cool and so relaxing. The situation outside is the reverse. We are about to go home, the flaming sun is sure to make our skin dryer, body more uncomfortable, make us sweat and cause headache in the end. Taking Zagu while going home is sure a good way to cool our body down despite of the heat.
It worked, I can feel the sun’s heat all over my skin but I still feel comfortable as I sip the ice cold drink. However, the last sip made my head achy, I got a brain freeze.
This technology about processing of gelatin bars from eucheuma seaweeds was provided by Philippine Department of Agriculture, DA.
1. Select freshly harvested seaweeds gathered early in the morning or during low tide.
2. Wash the seaweeds with freshwater and drain thoroughly.
3. Spread the seaweeds into thin layers over wooden trays or in any clean container and dry
under the sun for one week.
4. Resoak seaweeds in freshwater for 5-10 minutes. Dry again under the sun until the
seaweeds turns dirty yellow.
5. Once the seaweeds are dried, bleach them with weak acids like vinegar until the color turns
6. Drain the bleached seaweeds and sun-dry until sufficiently dried (light brown in color)
7. To the dried seaweeds, add 3-5 liters of water and a diluted solution of vinegar until slightly
acidic to taste. Allow this to boil for 30 minutes to one hour while constantly stirring the
solution. Boiling can be repeated until the solidification of the extracted agar is difficult to
8. After boiling, strain the seaweeds using ordinary cheesecloth. Separate the liquid portion
from the plant residue.
9. After extraction, allow the filtered extract to cool and solidify. Once it is hard enough, cut into
strips or to any desired form.
10. Pack the gulaman strips or bars into an ice box with dry ice or wrap them in cheesecloth with
ice and salt, keep the bars intact for 2-3 days.
11. Thaw the gulaman bars by placing them on bamboo mattings or wire screen and allow them
to dry at room temperature.
12. Finally, allow the extracted thawed agar to dry under the sun until the desired texture is
13. Cool the gulaman bars before packing and storing.