Vegetable leather, edible vegetable leather and vegetable-tanned leather are all different terms used to refer to different substances. There is a lot of confusion on these three things. Let us look at what it is and similar terms associated with it.
Leather is a common household material used to make many articles like bags, belts, coats, dresses, covers, cases, etc. Leather is basically a durable and flexible material which is made using animal rawhide and skin. Mostly, cattle hide is used to make leather. Because leather is made using animal products, many people who have a vegan lifestyle tend to avoid it. Vegetable leather is a great alternative to animal leather based products. However, there are two other types too. Read on, to learn about them.
‘Vegetable leather is completely different from vegetable-tanned leather.’ There is a huge difference between both. It is made using cotton and rubber. While vegetable-tanned leather is normal leather which is tanned using tannin. Tannin is a substance which is used to tan leather. Tannin is found in vegetable matter like tree bark which is prepared in bark mills. This type of leather tends to be supple and brownish in color. But, it’s exact shade depends upon the mix of chemicals and color of the skin. This is a special type of leather which is used for leather carving or stamping. When it left to soak, it tends to change its color. When it is soaked and dried, it will shrink and become hard and supple. But, in hot water it becomes rigid and soon brittle.
Vegetable leather which is used to make vegan shoes, bags, belts, and other articles is a different leather altogether. As mentioned above, it is made using rubber and cotton. This is actually an imitation of leather which is made using cotton waste and a type of rubber found in special trees. Many years back, a mix of cotton and rubber was made. It was flexible and resistant. It was also impermeable. Due to these special properties inhibited by this material it was used by big brands to manufacture various leather imitation products like belts, bags, shoes, etc.
Vegetable leather is considered to be very eco-friendly because it is made from cotton waste and using trees which give a special sap. To extract the sap there is no cutting of trees involved. This helps to preserve one of the biggest virgin forest in the world. This also tends to support the local people who collect this latex. The tree used in the process is hevea brasiliensis, which is commonly called seringa. Incision in the tree’s crust tends to produce a thick whitish substance which is latex.
Each tree can produce around three to four liters of the milk. This latex needs to be quickly processed or it can solidify. It is then soaked with cotton plates. It is heated to dry the latex. After this the plates are introduced to a corrugated stove and a certain constant temperature is maintained. After some time, vulcanization occurs. Finally, a sulfur wash makes the material strong. Then this raw material is sent to factories where it will be used to make various vegetarian leather material based products.
Edible Vegetable Leather
Have you heard about fruit leather? It looks basically like fruit rolls and made using fruits pulp. This pulp is dried to make an edible leathery chewy food. Fruit leather is an interesting food item. Similar to fruit leather one can make vegetable leather too. To make it you can use this recipe. Cut 3 medium-sized tomatoes, and one small onion. Also, finely chop a small stick of celery. Then cook these vegetables, add salt to taste in a saucepan and cover it. Keep cooking the mix for 20 minutes on low flame. Force the mix through a sieve. Then spread it out in a cookie sheet. Finally, dry it at 130 degrees Fahrenheit in the oven. Take it out from the oven and let it cool down.
I hope the article has cleared your doubts on different types of leather which are associated with the term vegetarian. So, next time you come across any type of vegetable leather, you will know the difference.