Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Food for thought....

Did you ever wonder about the flavor of your natural foods?  For example, milk, orange juice, cheese, butter?  If you think about every time you've eaten or drank your favorite brand, did the flavor ever change?  We reach for our favorite brand of orange juice because we have found the flavor that suits us best.  But if you were to taste your favorite commercial foods or drinks, that were packaged for you a year ago and one that was packaged today you would notice that they taste exactly the same.

This may not take you by surprise or even bother you at first as that flavor is what endeared you to that brand in the first place.  But do foods naturally taste the same day after day after day?  The answer is no.  Any fruit picked yesterday will have a different sugar content than one picked tomorrow or the next day.  Milk, butter, cheeses change flavor based on what the cow is eating through out the year.  Even eggs can have subtle changes due to a chicken's diet (unfortunately in the chicken arena, commercially raised chickens diet never do change, so "factory eggs" likely do never change their flavor or color).

It almost seems ridiculous that I personally had not thought this concept through much earlier.  As a young child I remember being blessed with raw milk, we ate a lot of our own garden raised vegetables, and we produced fresh apple cider three months out of the year for sale.  I've known from a very young age that the cider produced early in the season has a very different flavor from that later in the season and that no two batches of cider were ever identical in flavor or color.  If that's the case with a simple glass of apple cider, why wouldn't it be the same for orange juice, grape juice, milk, cheeses, and any other natural product.

Unfortunately the answer lies in chemicals.  The large commercial companies know that their customers want a certain texture, a certain flavor and have found a way to make sure that every bottle of your favorite orange juice remains true to that particular bottle you opened on the day you fell in love with it.  Below I've posted some links with information and sources regarding the "amazing" journey our "natural" orange juice takes from an orange tree to your glass.

I haven't researched milk, and other similar products yet, but I'm quite certain the findings will be similar.  Though I do know for a fact that the raw milk, butter, yogurt, and cheeses that we buy from our farmer certainly do change from month to month, sometimes from week to week, all based on what the cows have been eating, where they have been pastured, etc....  And a shameless plug for our fresh pressed apple cider as an example of what a more natural process should look like:  you will never find an identical batch of our juice, similar maybe, as we've found certain blends of apple varieties make yummier juice then others, but never identical.  Our juice is pressed, filtered enough to remove any stray apple chunks, pumped cold through a (state mandated) computer controled uv light that targets e.coli and bad bacteria (enzymes, yeasts, and most good bacteria are not effected as our uv processed cider will "turn" just as quickly as the unprocessed cider), and then bottled into jugs and kept chilled in a cooler until bought by our customers.  Our cider will not last more than a week without beginning to turn and ferment (unless you purchase our preserved label, which uses the same exact process above, the only difference is it has potassium sorbate added prior to bottling.)  Personally we love freezing our favorite batch of the season to enjoy all through the winter, and if we're lucky and have pressed enough, through part of the summer.  A fond memory of mine was watching my Grandfather taste each batch of cider throughout the cider pressing months, looking for "the one" he wanted to fill his cider freezer with for the year.  Then every summer as he would be splitting wood for the year to come he'd have a half gallon of his cider thawing on a stump nearby so that as the day grew warm it would thaw and he'd enjoy "fresh cider" as he worked.

Next time you reach for something "natural", think about how much processing that "natural" food has gone through.

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