The creamy, soft margarine is a favorite spread, and a topping of bread, baked food, snacks, vegetables, and crackers is a favorite substitute for butter for many of us. Margarine is a product of vegetable oil of fat derived from safflower, corn, soy, cottonseed, and sunflower. Do you want to know if you can clarify margarine? The answer is no. Clarification is the removal of solid parts of milk from butter by melting in low heat.
Margarine is an emulsion of vegetable fat in water, the water droplets remain in dispersion as solid in the vegetable fat. Butter is a derivation of milk, a dairy product containing trans-saturated fat. Unlike margarine, clarification of butter results in the removal of solids of milk, producing butterfat or ghee.
What Is Margarine?
Margarine is a substitute for butter and comes in the market as ‘plant-based butter’. As it is a derivative of vegetable oil, it contains good fats—the poly-unsaturated and mono-unsaturated fats. These fats decrease the bad low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and increase the good high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.
The natural color is white, but the manufacturers add yellow dye to produce a color like butter. The flavor of margarine is like butter, the taste is not exactly like butter. The proportion of water to fat varies in the various brands of margarine. The price of margarine is less than butter and less although healthy, it is an acceptable food worldwide.
How To Make Margarine?
The FDA Code of Federal Regulations on food defines margarine as plastic food, which means, it is neither liquid nor solid. Margarine is a liquid emulsion containing less than 80% vegetable fat and other safe ingredients.
The source of vegetable fat in margarine is a combination of vegetable oils extracted from safflower, sunflower, soybean, palm kernel. Margarine is an emulsion of water, salt, and preservatives. Some companies also add milk or milk product, coconut oil, or omega-3 fatty acid in their brands of margarine spread. The margarine spread is soft and spreadable on top of foods, bread, crackers, vegetables, and baking items.
Before starting the actual process of making margarine, the ingredients are prepared. To remove the free fatty acid the oil undergoes treatment with a solution of caustic soda. It is then washed with hot water, separated, and allowed to vacuum dry. The color of the oil is removed with charcoal and bleaching earth. Through filtration, the colorants come out of the oil. Pasteurization removes the impurities from the oil.
The process of hydrogenation creates the perfect consistency of the oil for margarine. The process involves the inclusion of hydrogen gas under pressure leading to an increase in temperature, raising the melting point of the oil. This also makes the oil-resistant to oxidative contamination.
Combining the Ingredients
The most common method of making margarine is the continuous-flow method. An emulsifying agent helps in the suspension of two kinds of liquids globules. The emulsifier creates a chemical bond between the oil and the liquid. The naturally occurring emulsifying agent is lecithin, present in corn, soybean, or egg yolk. These add typical emulsifying agents to margarine. The resulting mixture is neither solid nor liquid but semi-solid.
The initial mixture comprising salt, liquid, and lecithin is placed on a tank. The oil and the oil-soluble items are held in a vat opposite to the tank. The contents are poured into a third tank, the emulsifying chamber, which blends the mixture at 38°C.
The mixture undergoes agitation in a device known as the Votator, a U.S brand margarine, making machine. The Votator has Chamber A, where the margarine emulsion is allowed to cool down through a trio of tubes. As the temperature goes down to 7-10°C, the mixture is transferred to Chamber B. The mixture is agitated but allowed to sit to allow it to become semi-solid.
They grade the margarine according to standard criteria. It is then packed in plastic containers and sealed.
The Nutrition Of Margarine
As the fat in margarine is based on vegetables, having no saturated fatty acid, it is considered a safe, healthy food.
What is the Nutrition of Margarine?
A 28-gram or an ounce of has the following nutrients
- 150 calories
- 17g fat
- 8.3 g mono-unsaturated fat
- 4.7 g poly-unsaturated fat
- 3 g saturated fat
- 504 mg omega-3 fatty acids
- 4177 mg omega-6 fatty acids
- 1 mg sodium
- 0 mg cholesterol
- 0 g fiber
- 0g carbohydrates
- 0 g sugar
- 0 g protein
Further, 28 grams fulfill 35% of the RDA of Vitamin K, as much as 20% of Vitamin A, and Calcium of 1%.
Positive Effect Of Margarine To Health
The benefits of margarine are mainly because of unsaturated omega-fatty acids. The omega-3 is an anti-inflammatory agent, whereas the omega-6 is effective in brain functioning, growth, and development.
Margarine also does not contain any fiber, sugar, protein, or carbohydrate. It is a preference of people who wants to avoid high fat and sugar generating food. Calcium builds the bones and helps proper functioning muscle, heart, and nerves.
The Negative Side Of Margarine
During hydrogenation, margarine may become saturated with harmful trans fat. Trans fat shows an increase in LDL or bad cholesterol and a decrease in HDL or good cholesterol, a rise in the risk of heart diseases. Too much intake of margarine may not be proper for the heart.
What Can You Cook With Margarine?
Margarine is a substitute for butter, used in cooking and baking. Margarine is essentially a spread that takes great with bread and jelly. Margarine is also an agent for making muffins, bagels, biscuits, vegetables, and baked potatoes.
Margarine is a healthy source of spread for bread and toast every morning. Considering the minimal saturated fat content, it has acceptance worldwide as a substitute for butter. As we know that margarine is processed from vegetable fat, we can be confident that clarifying will not give you the same quality and quality of ghee or buttermilk. However, margarine tastes good with vegetables.