Transglutaminase (TG) is one of the coolest ingredients we carry. It is so easy to use and can do truly incredible things. TG takes two proteins – glutamine and lysine – and creates a bond between the two. This allows for better portion control and presentation. A common myth is that TG comes from pigs blood and will glue your fingers together if you are not careful. Thankfully, both of these are not true. While TG can be found in pigs blood, it is not packaged and sold. In fact, TG can also be found in plants and that is what’s used in packaged brands like Moo Gloo. As word started to spread about the benefits of TG and how it works, people started to wonder if they could use it with plants. Some plants contain glutamine and others contain lysine. So, per usual, the questions come rolling in:
“Can Moo Gloo also glue my veggies?”
Technically, the answer is yes. Mixing purees of vegetables or beans that contain both glutamine and lysine will be bonded by the TG. But there are many things to consider when adding TG to vegetables and beans. First, meat and veggies react differently when they are cooked. Meat is predominantly protein, and proteins don’t breakdown the same way that vegetables do. Where proteins will toughen as heat is applied vegetables will soften. This makes it difficult to make a veggie patty or terrine that is as dense as you want it to be. This is where a helper protein can come in handy. If you are using Moo Gloo RM, on top of the TG it also contains sodium caseinate. Sodium caseinate is the protein found in milk and acts as a helping hand in the bonding process as well as a thickener. You can also add more sodium caseinate to increase the amount of protein in the veggie mixture. Gelatin may also be used as a helper protein, but be aware that gelatin melts when heated. Lastly, if you are making a veggie patty or terrine, allow the TG to set overnight for the best results. TG can be set during the cooking process but it hasn’t had enough time to fully activate.
You may have noticed that I only referred to purees or mixtures of vegetables above. The reason for doing so is that the puree can easily be thickened or mixed well with TG. Unfortunately, there is no way that you can use TG to glue a carrot stick to a celery stick for the ultimate hot wing garnish.
We briefly mentioned that Moo Gloo RM contained sodium caseinate. That is not the case for all types of TG. Moo Gloo TI is a vegan TG. This type of TG doesn’t contain any helper protein so it will bond fewer items than Moo Gloo RM. If you want to use this I suggest making sure the vegetables have both glutamine and lysine. Beans, lentils, spinach, and beets are just a few of the foods that have glutamine. Leafy greens like kale and romaine lettuce contain lysine. Secondly, Make sure the puree or mixture has been thickened properly, black beans make a great protein rich binder.
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