Wish to buy agar-agar powder but don’t know where to find it?
If you want to find Agar-agar powder in a grocery store, there are a few places where you may be able to find it, namely the baking aisle, natural food aisle, or the international aisle.
In this article, we’ll also cover everything you need to know about agar-agar, including which stores are more likely to have it in stock.
What is Agar Agar?
Agar-agar – also referred to as Kanten (in Japan) – is a white, semi-translucent vegetable gelatin derived from seaweed that is sold in flake, powder, bar, and strand form.
Vegans, in particular, often use it in recipes because, like animal-based gelatin, agar-agar can act as stabilizing and thickening agent, which is perfect for making desserts.
The main difference between agar-agar and gelatin is from where they’re derived – whilst regular gelatin is derived from livestock collagen (from the cartilage, bones, skin, and tendons), agar-agar is basically a mix of carbohydrates extracted from seaweeds known as agarophytes, which belong to the Rhodophyta (red algae) family.
Both also behave differently – regular gelatin dissolves in warm water (at 95 F) but agar-agar needs to be boiled (at 185 F) to dissolve. However, unlike gelatin, agar-agar does not need to be refrigerated to set.
This also means they won’t lead to the same result, for example, if you use agar-agar to make jelly, you will end up with something that is less creamy and more firm.
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What Stores Sell Agar Agar Powder?
Several stores typically have agar-agar powder in stock, and most of the stores will be of no surprise to you, as they’re the biggest retailers around.
Here are the stores that are most likely to have agar-agar powder available:
- Amazon: The biggest online marketplace in the world, Amazon is the place where you can find literally find anything online, including agar-agar powder, namely from brands such as Living Jin, Fit Lane Nutrition, and America Heritage Industries.
- Walmart: Considered the number #1 retailer in the United States, Walmart is also bound to have agar-agar powder, both online and offline. They have brands such as Bulkeez, Now Real Food, and Landor Trading.
- Whole Foods: Given that agar-agar powder is mostly considered a healthy food, you will also be able to find it at Whole Foods in the natural foods section. They have their own brand of agar-agar powder.
- Kroger: Deemed the largest supermarket in terms of revenue in the United States, Kroger also has agar-agar powder available. There you will be able to find brands like Now Real Food and Eden.
- Local Health Stores: Surely you will be able to find agar-agar powder in one of the health stores near you, as agar-agar is regarded as natural food.
Another option to consider is Asian marketplaces, particularly those of Japanese origin, considering that agar-agar is used in a wide range of traditional Japanese foods and desserts.
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Where Is Agar Agar Powder Located In The Grocery Store?
If you’re planning to physically head to a grocery store to get your agar-agar powder, then the first aisle you might want to visit is the baking aisle, as that is where you’ll usually find it, particularly in smaller grocery stores.
However, in grocery stores that have a natural food aisle or healthy food aisle (with alternative vegan foods like seitan or tofu), you’re likely to find agar-agar next to those products.
Checking the international aisle is also an option considering that agar-agar is not of Western origin. If it’s in the international aisle, it’s probably next to Japanese products, as agar-agar is used to make a very popular Japanese dessert.
If you’re unable to find agar-agar powder in any of these aisles in the grocery store next to you – I would seriously recommend you to order it online via Amazon or Walmart.
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Ways You Can Use Agar Agar Powder
In culinary, agar-agar can be used in a wide number of ways, but in the West, I’d say that it’s used mainly as a replacement for gelatin in a variety of dishes, including puddings, mousses, jellies, ice cream, candies, and even cheesecake.
Traditionally, agar-agar powder has been used in the making of anmitsu – a popular Japanese dessert that includes other ingredients such as sweet azuki bean paste, boiled peas, and a variety of fruits.
If you’re vegan and love cheese, you can also use agar-agar to make plant-based cheese, as it will act as a thickening agent that adds form and firmness to the cheese.
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Is Agar Agar Powder Healthy?
One thing that I know is that agar-agar is not an unhealthy product, in fact, it’s certainly a better option than gelatin because it’s fat-free and contains numerous minerals essential for optimal health.
It includes minerals such as manganese, magnesium & iron, and moderate levels of calcium, potassium, zinc, copper, choline, folate (B9), vitamins E and K.
There is no reason to regard agar-agar powder as an unhealthy ingredient, in fact, it’s actually the opposite.
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While it’s easier to find agar-agar powder online on websites such as Amazon and Walmart, you’re also likely to find it in certain supermarkets or stores like Kroger or Whole Foods.
Typically, agar-agar powder will be stocked in the baking aisle, however, if the grocery store near you has a natural food aisle (or healthy food aisle) with products such as seitan or tofu, it’s quite likely that you will be able to find the agar-agar powder next to those products.
Another option is for you to visit a local health food store as those will typically have agar-agar powder, and a whole deal of similar alternative products.
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