Label Reading

Label Reading

It is no secret that one of the bases for good preparation is the use of quality ingredients. Not forgetting, of course, good practices in food handling, mastery of techniques and obviously good taste. But do you read labels?
ickfd-label-readingsource: Dr. Monia Pichi
It is very important to have the practice of reading labels, even for products of renowned brands. But why? Because it is at this point that you will know what exactly you are using, although this is kind of obvious, but let’s see four very curious points that are usually out of people’s habit.
VALIDITY and STORAGE – Products can have different validities: days, months, even years. And there on the packaging is a note / reservation, saying: “after opening, store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days”. These observations can determine other conditions and deadlines. Example: keep refrigerated or keep away from light, in a dry and cool place.
CONSTITUTION / INGREDIENTS – In the food labeling legislation, every company is obliged to make clear a list of ingredients in decreasing order of volume, that is, the first ingredient mentioned is the one that has the greatest volume in the product, followed by the second ingredient with the highest volume, in that order until the last one. I will give you 2 examples of a common everyday product, two boxes of whole UHT milk.
Example 1

  • Ingredients: Standardized milk, vitamins A, D, C (sodium ascorbate) and stabilizers (sodium tripolyphosphate, sodium acid pyrophosphate and monosodium phosphate).

Example 2

  • Ingredients: Whole milk and stabilizer (sodium citrate)

magnifier-in-label-ickfdsource: Healthy Project
Realize that they are very different products, but can this make a difference when making my recipe? Yes, although it is not always.
Next to the list of ingredients, on the packaging there is a field called “Nutritional Information”, when making your recipes it is very important to read this area so ignored by most consumers. In it, in addition to the energy value (calories), the percentage of carbohydrates, proteins and fats is listed, as well as dietary fiber, sodium, calcium etc. There are valuable details. Find out what the role of this ingredient is in your recipe to choose the best product / brand. I’ll give two examples in traditional wheat flour, enriched with iron and folic acid, both with 50g portion, exactly as it is on the label:
Example 1: Proteins 5.0g
Example 2: Proteins 9.0g
See that supposedly (before reading the label), the two flours are the same product. But does having more or less protein make a flour better or worse? It depends on the preparation. Protein is a structural component in the masses; the more protein the better for breads and crunchy dough, the less protein the better for cakes and soft dough. Without forgetting that the method of handling and the temperature of use of the flours also influence the final result.
flour-slyadnev-ickfdphoto: Slyadnev
In the case of condensed milk, we can see brands with more and others with less carbohydrates, and butters with more and less fat. In the specific case of chocolates it is important to see the percentage of cocoa mass 35%, 50%, 70%.
CONSUMER SERVICE – Phones, emails, websites, social media etc. Guys, this contact is an information channel, if you have any questions about the product, that’s what it’s written on the packaging for.
ATTENTION TO “TRAPS” – Some packages say: “Flavor Strawberry ”which does not mean it has strawberry in the ingredients, as well as with other“ Flavors ”. Particularly, I love cinnamon. But let’s see two more examples of “equal” products, until you check the ingredients:
Example 1:

  • Condiment based on powdered cinnamon: China cinnamon powder, cloves, fennel and starch.

Example 2:

  • China cinnamon powder: China cinnamon powder.

Guys, “example 1” is cheaper, but the color, texture, aroma, aftertaste reach the feet of “example 2”.
It’s always good to read, isn’t it? Ah! Don’t forget that the moment you buy a product, you have a responsibility for waste. What is the destination for your packaging? Let’s rethink about the “garbage”. Happy reading from now on, guys!

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