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An alternative size?

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  • Jake Benson
    Hello everyone,Necessity is the mother of invention, isn t it?In view of the shortage of size, I wanted to mention that I came across som= ething that
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 30, 2004
      Hello everyone,

      Necessity is the mother of invention, isn't it?

      In view of the shortage of size, I wanted to mention that I came across som=
      ething that
      >may< work as an alternative, though I've not tried it yet.

      A simple starchy/sugar chemical structure called "glucomannan" is found in =
      the roots of a
      kind orchid, "orchis mascula", or Salep. This was recommended by Halfer as=
      being just as
      good as carragheen, but it was more expensive. This material was used hist=
      orically for
      Ebru in Turkey as well, as it is mentioned the the "Tertib Risale-i Ebri" d=
      ated to 1608. A
      special drink called "salep" is made from root powder dissoved in boilng mi=
      lk , and
      sweetened, sprinkled iwth cinnamon, and may be some nuts and coconut (at le=
      ast they did
      that in Egypt, where it is known as "sahlab"). It makes a very tasty winte=
      r beverage, which
      is soothing for a sore throat.

      In doing a web searches on salep and glucomannans, I came across a web site=
      glucomannans derived from a different source, the roots of konjac bulbs, wh=
      ich are a LOT
      cheaper than orchid roots. Konjacs are related to taro, and oddly enough t=
      hey are related
      to calladiums and "elephant ears" which are commonly grown in the US. Here'=
      s the link:


      you can read about the various products, and on the "order' link,

      I think the Konjac glucomannan powder (500g) $19.00 - would be the one to =

      A company rep named Michael Li [Tel (408) 257-1813] wrote me back:

      "Our company focuses on food products base on konjac glucomannan. there are=
      kinds different source for glucomannan, but the konjac plant is the major r=
      esource for
      glucomannan, the dried konjac root have about 60% glucomannan, 30% starch, =
      it is the
      richest resource for glucomannan."

      I haven't had time to try this yet, but will do so when it gets a little co=
      oler and I've
      completed other projects.

      it reminded me of Peggy Skycraft's wonderful presentation at teh San franci=
      sco IMG on her
      experiments with a variety of materials for size. Peggy- are you out there=
      ? i think you
      had joined the list. As I recall, you came up with a pretty straight forwa=
      rd way to test the
      viscosity of the solutions. Would you care to share that with us again? y=
      our presentation
      was very comprehensive, and I found your guidelines very useful when I expe=
      with tragacanth and fenugreek, although it has been some time now.....

      I did try salep a few times, but the quality of what I had purchased was ad=
      ulterated with
      starh- a common practice in Turkey for the beverage market. I tried again =
      using Halfer's
      directions, but felt the mucilage was too thin. During my last visit, I pu=
      rchased the dried
      roots, which are threaded on a string. when soaked in cold water it yields=
      a very clear gel
      with light tackiness to it, much like boiled carragheen moss does.

      Maybe this will not work as well for traditional water colors, but perhaps =
      it is good for
      acrylics? I know that the late Nüsret Hepgül told me he found that salep =
      mixed well with
      tragacanth and at about a 1:1 ratio, he felt that he acheived more delicate=
      patterns this way.

      I've written several companies in Asia regarding carragheen, but have yet t=
      o hear back. it
      is cultivated in southeast asia, and refined in China, the Phillipines, and=
      however, I did hear a story on NPR once about the growing problems concerni=
      ng the
      world's oceans, and the sudden decline of ocean resources- largely fish, bu=
      t many other
      thigns as well. there were some indication that over-harvesting of seaweed=
      s is
      ecologically disruptive and has led to a decline in the growth. I know tha=
      t FMC raised their
      stuff in a "Farm" out in the middle of the ocean, but other companies may n=
      ot be so

      So maybe it is worth taking the time to experiment.

      Well, have fun trying! but let all of us know how it goes...

      Jake Benson
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