Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >
Jul 1, 2012 08:57 PM

Gum Arabic?

Hi guys. I'm on the hunt for gum arabic, and was wondering if anyone on the board might know of a greater Boston/Camberville locale to find some? So far, I've checked Modern Brewer, Harvest Food Co-Op, Cambridge Naturals and Pemberton Farms, and so far nothing-I've even checked Penzy's website. My next stop is Christina's in Inman. Any other suggestions? I know it's available online, but I need so little, I'd rather not pay $20 including shipping for more than I'm likely to need (I'm trying out a home made version of Orange Crush, and the recipe calls for 1 tsp of G.A.)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I remember at a cocktail event 4-5 years back at Green Street, John Gertsen made a pisco punch. He noted that it was often possible to obtain gum arabic and indian groceries. I've never checked to see if that was true, but that's something to look at.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jgg13

      It's not labeled as gum arabic but as "indian gum." I have gotten it at Shalimar spices in Central (the place next to Libby's Liquors) and elsewhere. It has the adds a full mouth feel but it's not exactly true gum arabic.

      Wikipedia explains "Various species of acacia yield gum. True gum arabic is the product of Acacia senegal, abundant in dry tropical West Africa from Senegal to northern Nigeria.

      Acacia arabica is the gum-Arabic tree of India, but yields a gum inferior to the true gum-Arabic."

      When I gave it a try, it didn't give that scum that you get when I have boiled real gum arabic. Still has some of the same effect as real gum arabic.

      The place I have gotten quality gum arabic online is Frendzco herbalists on eBay (they also have a regular web store). They're kind of new agey but their herbs are all food grade and always fresh when I have ordered them. Decent prices on gum arabic in 1,4, and 16 ounce sizes:

    2. It looks like Frontier sells it. Debra's Natural Gourmet in West Concord sells lots of bulk Frontier spices and they may carry the Gum Arabic. Debra's is a terrific source for very fresh bulk spices at reasonable prices, and they have a nice selection.

      1. They sell it in Watertown at Sevan. It comes in a little jar and there are little cube size pieces of it. Ask for it at the register.

        2 Replies
        1. re: cherrytomato

          That would be my bet. I know they sell mastic (very pricey), too.

          1. re: cherrytomato

            I went to Sevan this past Thursday, and the guy behind the register said that they didn't sell it. Unless there's another name for it in Turkish or Arabic that I need to ask for it as....

          2. Thanks for the suggestions, guys! I know that Frontier's has it as part of their line, and Cambridge Naturals was willing to start carrying it, or order it for me if I planned on a big project (I'm not *lol*) There is a pretty good Indian grocer around the corner from me, on Broadway in Somerville, I'll totally check them out. If not, Watertown's not too far from me.

            1 Reply
            1. re: shaggycub

              I stopped into Debra's in West Concord after work to pick up a few spices, and they do not carry it.

            2. Thank you for all of the suggestions. I think I'm going to see about buying online. It appears there are some places selling it for small prices with small shipping costs. I am tired of schlepping from store to store. To recap, I've been to Modern Brewer, Pemberton Farms, Cambridge Naturals, Harvest Food Co-Op, Christina's, Arax and Sevan. Either they flat out don't sell it, or when asked, they have no idea what the hell I am talking about.

              1 Reply
              1. re: shaggycub

                If you are using it as an emulsifier such as to keep oils in suspension for making sodas or similar, make sure that it is high quality food grade; read some of the open-source Coca Cola-like recipes since they went through that problem (the cheap stuff has a wide variety of chain lengths that caused a lot of issues in getting things to work right). If you are using it for gomme syrup, just regular food grade will be plenty.