The following are examples of beneficial characteristics that gums provide to food. And of course, these same benefits occur whether the food product is prepared in a manufacturing plant, or in your kitchen. In general, by interacting with water, gums thicken, suspend, gel, emulsify, enhance texture and stabilize. More specifically, gums, in:
Breads: Reduce dry-out (moisture retention), thereby lengthening its life, while also enhancing its texture and mouthfeel. In gluten free (wheatless) recipies, gums provide elasticity to the dough, thereby enabling the bread to rise.
Puddings, Custards, Yogurt, etc: Reduce dry-out (life extension), prevent water leakage/pooling, provide body and control thickening, while providing for a smooth mouthfeel.
Cakes and Pies: Reduce dry-out (life extension), prevent “Volcano Cracking” due to dry spots, all the while adding body and mouthfeel enhancement.
Low Fat Foods: Add thickness and provide a fat-like full bodied mouthfeel.
Ice Creams: Control thickness, add body and reduce dry-out (moisture control) which helps prevent the formation of sugar and ice crystals, thereby lengthening its freezer life. With dietary recipes, gums allow for a reduction in solids without having to sacrifice the full-bodied mouthfeel.
Fried Foods (Including Breads and Tortilla Chips) *: Reduce moisture loss while helping control oil adsorption and oil migration.
Breadings and Batters: Improve cling, reduce moisture loss, add body and control oil absorption and oil migration.
Dressings and Sauces: Emulsify, thereby preventing the oil and water separation, maintain moisture and thickening, suspend spices, enhance mouthfeel and enable for full-bodied oil free *salad dressing recipes.
Beverages and Protein Concentrates: Control viscosity, suspend powder, enhance mouthfeel and create bulk.
Beer: Improves foam control, clarification and adds extra body.
Gum Paste and Fondants: Provide strength and texture.
Frozen Foods: Although “frozen desserts” are designed to be frozen, most foods simply are not. As we all know, most foods – after freezing and thawing – aren’t quite as appetizing as they once were. Why? Ice crystals and freezer burn:
As foods freeze, the water in the food freezes into tiny ice crystals (which may rupture cell walls.) With the self-defrost features of today’s freezers, the hot-cold temperature fluctuations that prevent the buildup of frost also cause continual microscopic melting and refreezing in food. This continual melting/freezing action encourages moisture migration within the food, which in turn encourages not only ice crystal growth, but also dried-out spots (freezer burn) on the food’s surface.
And although there is no cure-all for the freeze/thaw process, by stabilizing the moisture in food, gums help to lessen the negative effects that occur with freezing. How? By controlling the migration of moisture within food (which is what gums do anyway) during the melting/freezing cycles, gums help to prevent ice crystal growth and freezer burn