What Are Gelatin Grades?
Gelatin grades were developed in 1925, by chemical analyst Oscar T. Bloom who developed and patented the Gelometer. This device tested gelatin’s overall strength and gelling ability. The Gelometer’s outcome determined how the gel would be graded and priced. Once the test was complete, the gelatin being examined would receive a gelatin grade to indicate its strength.
While modern technology has since replaced the Gelometer, the term ‘bloom’ is still used to define gelatin grades. Blooms start at 100 and increase in intervals of 25. In layman’s terms, the higher the bloom, the stronger the gelatin grade and, ultimately, the greater the ability the gelatin has to hold everything together. For example, gelatin with 100 bloom has the least gelling ability, while gelatin with 200 or 225 has significantly more.
To get a better idea of gelatin grades in action, let’s take a look at some examples.
Types of Gelatin Grades Applied in Different Industries
Each grade of gelatin serves a purpose. Below, you’ll see some of the ways varying bloom strengths are effective in different grades of gelatin depending on the industry.
Pharmaceutical Grade Gelatin
Pharmaceutical Grade Gelatin is used in the production of hard and softgel capsules, along with other nutritional supplements. Bovine pharmaceutical-grade gelatin provides a high viscosity to bloom ratio, which is necessary to create softgel capsules.
Hide, another type of medical grade gelatin, is sometimes used instead of bovine bone for softgels.
However, bovine hide gelatin is manufactured in a way that produces high bloom gelatin with relatively low viscosity. This is good for most food applications, but not pharmaceutical. Bone gelatin is made in a different process, rendering much higher viscosities – making this much more suitable for softgel applications.
Food Grade Gelatin
We have gelatin to thank for a lot in the culinary world. Food grade gelatin is no stranger to the world of sweets. Classic desserts like Jello generally use over 250 bloom Bovine gelatin to get just the right texture and form. If the gelatin grade were a different strength, the dessert we’ve come to love through the years wouldn’t be the same. The same idea applies to other tasty treats like marshmallows, gummy candy and fruit chews, which all use various gelatin grades in their ingredients.
But food grade gelatin isn’t just for people with a sweet tooth. The meatpacking industry has been using different grades of gelatin for more than 75 years. You’ll find a low bloom of 175 in canned hams, while jellied meats typically require a higher strength of gelling ability at 250 – 275 bloom.
Gelatin is a crucial ingredient in many products across the board. That includes collagen blends for animals with their care and wellbeing in mind.
In the equestrian world, low gelatin grades are used to expedite the growth of horse hooves. Higher grades are used to help bind pet food together, like birdseed. These higher gelatin grades also help hold other essential nutrients together in pet food like protein.
In the pharmaceuticals, food, animal care and a variety of other industries, these different gelatin grades serve a purpose to bind particular ingredients together and provide the product its desired formation.
The Importance of Mesh Size
Mesh helps gelatin absorb water and get to the desired formation. According to a general rule of thumb, the higher the concentration of gelatin, the larger the particles of mesh should be. For example, a product like gummy worms requires a large amount of gelatin, so it would use a very coarse 8 mesh. With this mesh size, larger particles in the gelatin can easily move around while absorbing water more efficiently.