One reason I keep going on and on lately about raw desserts and raw ice creams is best conveyed with an example. Here are the ingredients in Cool Whip, a commonly available whipped topping:
- hydrogenated vegetable oil (coconut and palm kernel oils)
- high fructose corn syrup
- corn syrup
- skim milk
- light cream
- less than 2% of:
- sodium caseinate
- natural and artificial flavors
- xanthan and guar gums
- polysorbate 60
- sorbitan monostearate
- beta carotene (color)
Wow, I had a chemistry set in 5th grade that had a lot of things that sounded like some of those items. It’s actually mind-boggling to envision the industrial processes necessary to produce everything on that list — not that it’s entirely possible to do so. After all, among the list of ingredients are “natural and artificial flavors.” Ever wonder what, exactly, those are?
Well, finding out is easy, really. Just pop over to the Code of Federal Regulations (here) and read the definition:
The term natural flavor or natural flavoring means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.
So, not only may natural flavors be non-raw (which may or may not be important to many), but they may in fact not even be vegetarian (which is likely important to quite a lot of people).
The term “artificial flavors,” by the way, refers to:
any substance, the function of which is to impart flavor, which is not derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof.
So, those really could be derived from just about anything imaginable (with the exception of actual food!).
Okay, so let’s compare that with my own recipe for whipped cream. Yes, I realize that I said the other day that I didn’t have a good recipe for it, but then I realized that I really do — and it relates back to our recent post on parfaits. You see, I’d been in such a hurry to consume these delicious parfaits that I failed to do what I recommend in the recipe, which is to refrigerate the cream. If you actually do this step, you’re going to basically get whipped cream that tastes 10x better than any store-bought chemistry set, and is also perfectly healthy!
Raw Whipped Cream
Into your Vitamix, add:
- a large handful of nuts (cashews, or maybe macadamias)
- just enough water so that the nuts will blend
- a bit of vanilla extract
- a pinch of salt
- optionally, a few strawberries or other berry for color and subtle flavor
- optionally, a bit of agave or other sweetener
I would highly recommend, prior to making this, a thorough study of our Raw Parfaits post last week, as it gives extra hints about adding thickness and so forth. I’d highly encourage experimentation with this basic formula! Blend your mixture thoroughly. When you think you’re done blending, blend it even longer. Seriously, it’ll be better. Then, the trick is to cool the cream. Spatula the whole mess into a bowl and toss it into the fridge for several hours, taking it out just prior to serving. This will render a whipped cream topping to live for.
Photo by jonathangaskin on Flickr (Creative Commons).