22 Jan, 2013
If life hands you lemon liquid…
Posted by andrea tomkins in: Recipes and Food
I don’t know why my daughter was holding the mega bottle of lemon juice concentrate. I was busy tidying the family room when she suddenly informed me that “it’s not just lemons in here.”
Let’s just say I was a tiny bit surprised.
I’m a conscientious label reader. I generally don’t buy things with glucose-fructose, or palm oil, or corn syrup, or anything hydrogenated. But for some reason I never bothered reading the label of the concentrated lemon juice I always keep on hand in the fridge. It’s been a kitchen staple for years! Why? It’s super convenient and I’m a lazy cook. And it’s cheap. Having a bottle of it saves me from having to buy fresh lemons all the time. I use it in loads of things: my afternoon cup of tea, lemonade (here’s the recipe I use), marinades, salad dressings, pretty much anything that needs a shot of lemon. I always knew it that using it in recipes wasn’t as good as using “real lemon” – but convenience seemed to trump it all.
Anyway, I asked the kid to read me the ingredients. It contains: “water, concentrated lemon juice, lemon oil, sodium benzoate, sulphites.” Verrrrry interrrrresting.
Sodium benzoate is a preservative that’s used mostly in acidic foods. (You can read more about it on Wikipedia.)
The have a feeling that the lemon oil adds flavour where flavour was lost (read: when water is the first ingredient).
And then there’s the sulphites. Some people have an allergy or sensitivity to sulphites. Health Canada has information on their website about sulphites here. Sulphites are naturally occurring in many foods and it has antimicrobial properties, and thus it stands to reason that the addition of sulphites gives foods a longer shelf life. Sulphites can cause headaches and intestinal cramping and apparently isn’t great for people with breathing issues. Sigh.
Bah. Whatever. This is all getting too complicated for me. I don’t feel like getting a degree in chemistry in order to better understand all this stuff. I’m just going to start slicing up lemons for my tea instead.