Thursday, December 18, 2008

The colour of things

I've been thinking about the colour of what we eat a fair bit lately.

It started when I bought some Salmon from my local fishmonger. It was reduced in price by about $11 a kilo - I asked why I was getting such a bargain. Apparently the fish farmer who had produced the salmon hadn't fed the fish the dye that coloured its flesh the bright orange colour that the supermarkets and/or consumers like.

I was horrified - I had no idea that salmon were given some kind of substance designed to alter their colour - I have no idea what the makeup of the dye would be but it doesn't sound right to me. The piece of 'natural' salmon I bought looked great to me (and was very tasty) but according to the fishmonger just didn't look how most people liked it to look....

Another colour issue I've been pondering is why commercial mayonnaise is white - I've been making homemade mayonnaise a fair bit lately (to go into potato salad amongst other things) and I can't quite figure out how a substance that has eggs as one of its key ingredients can end up snow white in colour - as opposed to the mellow yellow that I produce with our own eggs & olive oil. Hmmnnnn....

In the latest Earth Garden magazine a letter writer made some very interesting points (I thought) - that 'In today's world people have been conditioned to evaluate their foods by sight rather than smell or taste', and 'Who hasn't anticipated the pleasure of biting into a good-looking fruit only to spit out the first mouthful and throw the offending fruit away? No amount of publicity will convince kids that lousy tasting fruits are good for you' (Frank Schenk, Osborne Park, WA).

I can relate to what he is saying - I rarely buy fruits, or buy very small amounts, as they look great on a shelf but too often are hard, sour and very unpalatable when we try to eat them... and kids aren't silly - they don't care how much that apricot cost - they just know it tastes awful.

Well I'm happy to report that what we've been harvesting from our little plot lately has been kind on the eye and the tongue - the photo above shows one of the massixe strawberries the boys and I picked. They looked beautiful and were quite tasty - but nothing compared to the smaller ones though that were petite packages of berry bliss!


Nicki said...

Hi Jen,
Fantastic progress so far I see... I'm very impressed with your challenge and the accompanying website, only wish I was close enough to taste some of your delicious produce! Nicki and crew

Bernard said...

Attraction to colour is deep within us. Indeeds fruits are colourful 'by design' to attract us—and other eaters. Now, industry has found ways to trick us.

I read a long time ago that eggs have colour added, but my home-eggs are actually a deeper yellow yolk... so what's going on there?