Margarine is such a staple part of our everyday lives and diets these days that lots of people are wondering where it came from in the first place! I am here to fill you in on all the details of the story and to clear up some myths by telling you a bit about how it is made.
To begin with, margarine came into being in the 1800s. Emperor Napoleon III was looking around for a solution to the nationwide butter shortage. He announced a competition: the winner of which would present the best, most efficient butter substitute to feed Napoleon’s soldiers and the people of France. Hippolyte Mège-Mouriès won the prize with his innovative margarine recipe.
- It is made from natural plant oils blended with water. These plant oils contain oodles of the good ingredients, such as omega 3 and 6, our bodies need to stay happy and energised.
- Modern margarines contain no partially hydrogenated fats anymore, so no resulting trans-fats.
- High quality margarines keep your heart and arteries healthy by maintaining normal cholesterol levels with good unsaturated fats (omega 3 and 6). They also contain fewer saturated fats than butter too. Oil and water are mixed with a special emulsifier called lecithin. Lecithin can be found in egg yolk, which is why we use eggs to bind our cake mix together; all it does is to keep the main ingredients from separating.
- Quality margarines contain added vitamins in their recipe, to give you a nourishing boost in your sandwiches or on your morning toast. Vitamin A makes sure your eyes, skin and hair stay healthy and vitamin D helps out in the bones and teeth department.
- It is made from such simple ingredients and with a basic process that you can make it at home using the ingredients in your fridge!
- It is not closely linked to plastic and nor was it ever invented to fatten turkeys. We’ve seen these myths floating around and we’re here to clarify that both are complete nonsense!
- It comes in a variety of blends: from salt-free or low-fat to blends especially for baking. And don’t get us started on the different oils you can choose from – there’s a margarine out there for every taste and lifestyle need.
So hopefully I have helped to separate the margarine facts from the myths and have given you some useful information what to use for your cooking, baking and spreading needs. There are oodles of marvellous margarine-based recipes available to inspire your cooking– why not give it a try for dinner this week?