Monday, September 18, 2017

It's BLOOMING hot out here! What to do with bloomed chocolate.

By: Cecily Costa


Well #$@& happens and especially with all the hot weather we have received in the past few weeks, chocolate will bloom. But most importantly, don’t throw it out!

Chocolate bloom is a white powdery surface due to fat bloom or sugar bloom. This problem is due to incorrect storage of chocolate; either too warm or too cold. Fat bloom occurs when cocoa butter either does not crystallize properly or undergoes a phase transition when stored in warm or humid conditions. Fat bloomed chocolate feels 'oily' or 'greasy' due to surface layer of fat. Fortunately, fat bloom can be reversed by either tempering the chocolate or using it in a baked good where the chocolate will be warmed or cooled in similar way of the tempering process.

Sugar bloom occurs when sugar dissolves in surface moisture and recrystallizes, so do not store unwrapped chocolate in the fridge. Sugar-bloomed chocolate feels 'grainy' due to sugar deposits on the surface. Most importantly, sugar bloom is irreversible, so sugar-bloomed chocolate cannot be fixed (though you may be able to salvage it in a brownie recipe).

Chocolate with low cocoa butter content (like 32%) will have less than high cocoa butter content couvertures. If the chocolate is being used in baking (either as a chip or melted into the recipe) the quality won't be affected. If you are making molded truffles, the chocolate will need to tempered again.

Source: www.chem-is-you.blogspot.com “No Added Chemicals, The Chemistry of Chocolate”

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Why We All Scream When We Get Ice Cream Brain Freeze

By: Ashlie Stevens, July 31, 2017—the salt, NPR

Brain freeze — its technical name is sphenopalatine gangli on neuralgia. This is the signature pain of summer experienced by anyone who has eaten ice cream with too much enthusiasm or slurped down a slushie a little too quickly. It's enough to get most people to stop eating the ice cream all together.

Dr. Kris Rau of the University of Louisville in Kentucky, says it's a good way to understand the basics of how we process damaging stimuli. "Now on the roof of your mouth there are a lot of little blood vessels, capillaries," Rau says. "And there's a lot of nerve fibers called nociceptors that detect painful or noxious stimuli."

The rush of cold causes those vessels to constrict. "And when that happens, it happens so quickly that all of those little pain fibers in the roof of your mouth — they interpret that as being a painful stimulus," Rau says. A message is then shot up to your brain via the trigeminal nerve, one of the major nerves of the facial area.

The brain itself doesn't have any pain sensing fibers, but its covering — called the meninges — does. "And of course all of those little pain-sensing fibers are hooked up to your trigeminal nerve," Rau says. "So the brain is trying to figure out what is going on. It knows there is something wrong, something that is painful and they don't know exactly where it is."

And the pain message finally registers at the top of your head, which seems kind of random. "But it's a very similar phenomenon to the referred pain that is experienced by people who have heart attacks," Rau says. "You don't feel like your heart is hurting itself; it's your shoulder that is starting to hurt on your left side." And after a minute or two, the brain and body go back to normal.

Interestingly, Rau says there is anecdotal evidence suggesting that ice cream headaches might be an effective treatment for migraines. It does not work for everyone, but at least it might be worth a tasty shot!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Healthy Eating Department - Why The Arctic Apple Means You May Be Seeing More GMOs At The Store

By: Grant Gerlock, NPR the salt, February 1, 2017

Genetically engineered crops are nothing new. But emerging technology that allows scientists to alter plants more precisely and cheaply is taking genetically engineered plants from the field to the kitchen.

Arctic Apples are genetically engineered to produce less of the enzyme that turns sliced apples brown. Courtesy Okanagan Specialty Fruits
The first version of the Arctic Apple, a genetically modified Golden Delicious, is headed for test markets in the Midwest in February, according to the company that produced it. It is the first genetically engineered apple, altered so that when it is cut, it doesn't turn brown from oxidation.

Okanagan Specialty Fruits, based in British Columbia, Canada, wouldn't say exactly where the apples will first be sold, but says the target consumers are those interested in convenience. "The rapid expansion of the fresh-cut industry – bagged carrots, ready-made salads – has led to explosive growth of fresh cut produce," says Neal Carter, president of the company. "I can cut this up for my kid's lunch box ... and it doesn't go brown and they'll actually eat it."

The Arctic Apple is one of the first foods often termed a "genetically modified organism" (GMO) to be marketed to consumers, not at farmers. And it's a sign of how the science of genetic engineering is evolving. The first genetically engineered crops were global commodities like corn, soybeans and cotton. They were "transgenic," meaning they were resistant to pesticides or insects after scientists transferred new DNA into the plants.

"We were taking DNA sequences from another, often non-plant species, and moving it into plants," says Sally Mackenzie, a plant geneticist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In contrast, new crops are "cisgenic." They work within a plant species' own genome. "The next generation of technologies, those being implemented now — including the new apple – we're not introducing foreign DNA any longer," Mackenzie says.

The Arctic Apple uses a technology called RNA interference, sometimes called gene silencing. The target is the gene in the apple that controls production of the enzyme that makes it turn brown. When scientists add an extra strand of RNA, that gene is effectively switched off, or silenced. "We're basically down-regulating a gene that's already within that apple," Mackenzie says. "So I see that as entirely different. And I think it's important for the average consumer to recognize technologies have moved on."

Advances like gene silencing and other gene editing methods, like CRISPR technology, make biotech plant-breeding cheaper and more precise than the first generation of genetically engineered crops. New technologies are also less expensive for companies when it comes to federal regulations, as the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration require fewer costly tests.

Huge companies like Monsanto have dominated the industry, Mackenzie says, in part because of the high cost of regulations. Old biotech crops were aimed at big commodities in large part because it was a sure way to recoup that investment.

Engineered plants that don't introduce new genes don't face the same regulatory hurdles. Groups critical of GMO technology want to see stronger regulations in order to evaluate potential long-term impacts of biotech crops on health and the environment. Federal agencies are reviewing their rules around GMOs to catch up with the technology.

Under the current regulatory structure, however, it is more economically viable, Mackenzie says, for smaller biotech companies to market their own innovations. "You're going to see more and more traits coming out that are really consumer friendly, designed to respond to consumer demand," Mackenzie says. Corn will still get plenty of attention from plant breeders, but more companies may shift their focus from field to fridge.
Most genetically engineered crops are processed into ingredients in foods, so when we eat them they are a few steps removed from the field – think soybean oil in salad dressing or corn syrup in soda. When the Arctic Apple hits the produce aisle, however, it will be one of the first GMOs to reach consumers directly, but it is not the only one. A virus-resistant Rainbow papaya is already on the shelf. So is Simplot's bruise-resistant russet, called the Innate potato. The fruit company Del Monte has approval for a pink pineapple engineered to carry more lycopene, an antioxidant that supports the body's defense system.

The labels on packages of Arctic Apples won't say much about GMOs. They will have a tell-tale snowflake logo, and a QR code that can be scanned with a smartphone to reach a website with information about the science. That fits within the framework of a GMO labeling law passed by Congress last year, but it makes genetic engineering in food less obvious than many consumer groups have called for. The vast majority of consumers support clear labels on foods that contain GMO ingredients, just as the vast majority of scientists agree that they are safe to eat. For stores that may sell biotech fruits and vegetables, it pays to be up front with shoppers that these foods are genetically engineered.

"Transparency is what everything is about," says Joan Driggs, editorial director of Progressive Grocer which covers the grocery business. "Any retailer or manufacturer has to be transparent with their customer." The big question for the biotech industry: Once consumers know how these apples are created, will they care?

The Arctic Apple's test run will last through March. Okanagan Specialty Fruits expects a wider commercial release this fall.