Sunday, November 18, 2012

Single Ingredient Items

Single ingredient items can be very confusing.  You think when you buy a bag of flour, or a container of cream, you are buying something that is well, wheat or milk.  It's important to always read the labels of everything you buy.

True story:

I was so proud of myself last Thanksgiving.  After reading the label on a can of whipped cream, I set out to make my very own whipped cream and it came out delicious!!  I boasted to my friends and co-workers, how easy it was to whip together cream, sugar & vanilla. Three ingredients! All who tried it loved it!  Later in the week that followed, I was incredibly surprised to read what was in the cream; I thought it was only milk! I was so surprised when I accidentally read the side of the cream assumption? Cream was made from an early part in the milk making process, when there was still a lot of fat in it. What is in the ingredient list, you may be thinking to yourself?

Here ya go: 

I am breaking my rule: I had NO idea what mono and digylcerides, polysorbate 80 or carrageenan are.  So am I eating clean? Not by the real "clean" standards.

Here is the side of the canned whipped cream:

I'm doing a bit better - in this case.  But not in every case. But I can tell you I went and looked up what those were, and decided as often as I make whipped cream, and with how well we do with all of our other meals, that on the holidays a little but won't hurt.  So you now know, and can decide what is best for your family...

According to Wikipedia:
Mono and diglycerides:
Mono- and diglycerides are common food additives used to blend together certain ingredients, such as oil and water, which would not otherwise blend well. It is important to note that the values given in the nutritional labels for total fat, saturated fat, and trans fat do not include those present in mono- and diglycerides.
The commercial source may be either animal (cow- or hog-derived) or vegetable, derived primarily from partially hydrogenated soy bean and canola oil.[citation needed] They may also be synthetically produced. They are often found in bakery products, beverages, ice cream, peanut butter, chewing gum, shortening, whipped toppings, margarine, confections, and candies.

Polysorbate 80:
Polysorbate 80 is used as an emulsifier in foods, particularly in ice cream. Here, polysorbate is added to up to 0.5% (v/v) concentration and makes the ice cream smoother and easier to handle, as well as increasing its resistance to melting.[4] Adding this substance prevents milk proteins from completely coating the fat droplets. This allows them to join together in chains and nets, which hold air in the mixture, and provide a firmer texture that holds its shape as the ice cream melts.

Carrageenans or carrageenins (play /ˌkærəˈɡnənz/ KARR-ə-GHEE-nənz) are a family of linear sulfated polysaccharides that are extracted from red seaweeds. There are several varieties of carrageen used in cooking and baking. Kappa-carrageenan is used mostly in breading and batter due to its gelling nature. Lambda carrageenan is a non-gelling variety that assists in binding, retaining moisture, and in contributing to viscosity in sweet doughs. Iota carrageenan is used primarily in fruit applications and requires calcium ions to develop a heat-reversible and flexible gel.[1] Gelatinous extracts of the Chondrus crispus (Irish Moss) seaweed have been used as food additives for hundreds of years.[2] Carrageenan is a vegetarian and vegan alternative to gelatin.

Apparently there is seaweed in my cream. :)  I will continue to make my own cream; the three ingredients in mine are better than the ingredients in the canned stuff.  I am curious to see if the frozen stuff has the same ingredients. I will try to remember my camera next time I go to the grocery to snap a pic.

Happy eating!  Kathy

edit: here's a pic from the frozen whipped cream 

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