The main ingredient in a healthy margarine recipe is natural plant oil. This is what forms the basis of margarine; it contains the good fats and nutrients margarine provides as part of a healthy balanced diet and is part of what creates that wonderful, spreadable consistency we all love to spread on our toast at breakfast or use in our cakes, cookies and even curries! That’s why it’s important to know about these oils; what they are, what part they play in how margarine is made and why they’re so good for us.
First of all which oils are used and where do they come from? Well this varies depending on the brand but margarine is mostly made from soy, coconut, sunflower, rapeseed, canola or olive oil. They are harvested ethically from all over the world, working with local farmers to ensure the best growing conditions and the best results go into the margarine you buy in your local supermarket.
These oils are saturated with good, omega 3 and 6 fats that are good for our bodies and our hearts; it means that margarine is an excellent substitute for butter in our diets, as it contains less saturated fats than butter and only mere trances of trans fats that can be harmful to your heart’s health. Packed with added vitamins A and D it’s easy to see why many people choose margarine as the healthiest option for cooking, baking and spreading. If you’re looking to minimise your intake of bad fats for health reasons there are margarine blends available with less cholesterol too, so you have a range of options available to you.
Some margarine blends include salt for flavour, but again, salt-free varieties are available. You can also find blends of flavours too, so you can choose a margarine that’s right for your family’s taste, diet, health and lifestyle.
The oil is blended with water using the help of an emulsifier. The emulsifier’s job is just to keep the oil and water from separating and to help create that famous spreadableness. It might sound like a strange word, but a common emulsifier is lecithin and it’s found naturally in egg yolk. Egg yolk is used in baking all the time – it’s what binds our cake mix together, so you can see the link there.
Add a dash of seasoning and a little preservative, like citric acid from lemon juice, and you’re done – you know how exactly margarine is made! And did you know you can try making it yourself at home, using only the simplest ingredients that you’ll have in your cupboards already? It’s easy to make and will stay fresh for up to three weeks in the fridge