Although most of the long-chain inulin sugars—the indigestible carbohydrates that don’t provide sweetness—and the rest are short-chained—like sugar—the ratio of one or the other varies from inulin to inulin. Thus, each has unique characteristics. Those with little sugar are suitable as a substitute for a greasy texture and can improve oral sensation, stability, and thus acceptability of low-fat foods. On the other hand, those that are higher in sugars act as sweeteners.
Generally, people use products to thicken food in the kitchen. But because inulins can be used both hot and cold, they are remarkably versatile in terms of cooking. Using them, food scientists and chefs can create textures similar to those found in milk or egg products in order to enrich dishes for vegetarians or people with egg or milk intolerances.
Inulins have a specific application in making ice cream. It makes it flexible, prevents water crystals and reduces fat content. They act as binding agents in cakes and biscuits, as well as as fat substitutes in meat preparations.
Even star chefs trust the ingredient
The Michelin-starred Mugaritz in Guipuzcoa is one of the first restaurants to adopt the Inuline. There, chefs use the compounds in many preparations, such as chocolate ganache. The team at “Celler de Can Roca”, an award-winning Catalan restaurant in Girona, also uses inulin. For example, Spanish chef Jordi Gillem prepared tangerine cream using only citrus, sugar and inulin. He mixed the ingredients cold so that the freshness of the tangerines was preserved.
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