Gomme Arabique can come from one of two trees. One is the Acacia Senegal, which is propagated from seeds, grows up to 30 feet (9 metres) tall and has grey-green leaves.
The other is the Acacia Arabica tree.
Generally the trees are about 5 years old before gum is harvested. Producers make incisions in branches to promote production. The trees produce the gum to seal up incisions in the bark. It is exuded in tear-shaped drops that harden in the air over a 3 to 8 week period. The drops are collected manually. Only about 10 1/2 oz (300 g) is harvested from a tree at a time.
Gomme Arabique is an edible, water-soluble, resin composed of saccharides and glycoproteins. It’s E name is E414.
Gomme Arabique from Sudan is considered the best.
Gomme Arabique used to be used in inks.
Literature & Lore
An urban myth in 2001 held that the Gomme Arabique production in northern Africa (specifically Sudan) was controlled by Arab terrorists.