06 Sep The Weird & Wonderful Things Your (Natural) Nut Butter Will Do
At Forty Thieves, we respect Mother Nature’s hard work and choose to use only natural ingredients in our nut butters. The unique tastes and textures that untampered, quality ingredients offer are already wonderfully healthy and delicious as they are.
But with so much of the food available at our local supermarkets looking picture-perfect, it’s easy to mistake the little quirks in natural food for something more unpleasant. Which is why if you’ve purchased a Scorched Almond and Hazelnut Crunch this winter, you might be wondering what those white speckles and snowflakes are at the top of your jar! (Spoiler alert, it’s definitely NOT mold!)
But first, why have we gotten used to “perfect” food?
Globally, it is estimated that nearly 70% of the food found on grocery shelves is genetically modified. This means they’ve been edited to grow and look a certain way. On top of that, packaged food like biscuits, bread and crackers are often packed full of preservatives and additives, to improve shelf-life and appear as though they were baked that very same day. Confectionery might have flavour enhancers to overpower flavourless, cheap ingredients. Processed meat, fish and dairy often contain food colouring to resemble the way you think they should look. And spreads and dips often contain gums or emulsifiers to keep the contents from separating.
This sneaky editing of our food, coupled with a decrease in growing our own food and shopping locally at farmers markets, means we often don’t know what naturally grown, unaltered food looks like.
And this is a bad thing, why?
1. Your health: Many preservatives and additives have been associated with all sorts of adverse health risks. From weight gain, asthma, to heart problems and even cancer. Though there is still a lot of heated debate from different health professionals and scientists, we say play it safe and stick with the natural, untampered stuff!
2. The environment: We’re geared up to believe that bigger is better. But often that giant head of broccoli is only made possible with the use of harmful sprays. These sprays are dangerous to neighbouring native birds, insects and bees.
3. Food waste: According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, “large quantities of food are wasted due to quality standards that over-emphasize appearance.” This waste is because we don’t recognize the effects of time and changing temperatures.
Oil rises to the top of our 100% natural nut butters
Our 100% natural nut butters are one such product that, over time and in different temperatures, undergo natural changes. All the way back in the 1890s, manufacturers created peanut butter with one ingredient: peanuts. However, in the 1920s, emulsifiers such as mono- and diglycerides were added in order to hold in the naturally occurring oils of the peanuts. These fatty acids are mixed with sugar and vegetable oil, blended with cheap peanuts, to produce the thick sugary paste many of us grew up on.
Forty Thieves is proud to be ‘bringing natural back’ by crafting quality nut butter without added nasties. And that little bit of oil rising to the top of your jar? Easily fixed through a good stir before eating!
What does this have to do with our chocolate nut butters?
An amazing natural ingredient found in both our Scorched Almond and Hazelnut Crunch is Cocoa Butter, one component of the natural NZ-made chocolate we’ve chosen to pair with our crushed nuts. But with the cold temperatures New Zealand has hit this winter, Nature has shown her face in our butters. At first glance, the unique shapes you’ll see when you open your jar might look a little alarming. However, these white speckles and snowflakes of pure cocoa butter are completely safe and simply need to be stirred back in!
What ARE these speckles and snowflakes?
These white speckles occur as, due to cold temperatures over this winter, the cocoa butter (which is white in colour) has separated and risen to the top. In the chocolate world, it’s known as ‘fat bloom.’ This naturally happens as all Forty Thieves nut butters are made from 100% natural products without the use of emulsifiers, (including soy-lecithin) which would otherwise keep the oils and heavier pieces intact. So, if you notice some white snowflakes appearing in your Scorched Almond or Hazelnut Crunch, all you need to do is give your nut butter a good stir and voila! You should see everything mix back in together nicely.