Since its humble beginnings in France in the 1800s, margarine has always used the simplest of ingredients to bring tasty and well-balanced treats to every family table. Ask how margarine is made and you’ll be surprised that it can be made with only five ingredients. These include natural plant oils, milk, lemon juice, egg yolk and salt. And believe it or not, making margarine on a larger scale isn’t more complicated.
More about margarine’s essential ingredients
Before we find out how to make homemade margarine, we’ll take a closer a look at margarine’s main ingredients.
First up is a blend of nature’s finest plant oils, like soybean, sunflower, rapeseed and palm or coconut oils. These oils all have essential fats the body can’t produce so they play an important part in anyone’s daily diet.
The second ingredient is water. Normally water makes up a fifth of regular margarine, but could be more in low-fat or light spreads. The water content of margarines also differs from brand to brand.
Third in line are vitamins. In 1925 someone first had the bright idea to add even more goodness to margarine. Today you’ll find Vitamins A and D in every good quality tub of margarine. Vitamin A helps to boost normal vision and a healthy skin, while Vitamin D builds stronger bones and teeth.
Margarine is also made with emulsifiers and preservatives. And although the word ’emulsifier’ can sound a bit scary, it’s actually a very friendly thing. Lecithin is a natural emulsifier found in foods like egg yolk. It’s great to help oil mix with water and keeps your margarine smooth and spreadable day in and day out. To help your margarine stay fresh, citric acid or lemon juice is added to make each tub last for longer.
Last but not least is a tiny bit of salt. Salt has been used to preserve and bring out the flavour in food for thousands of years. But today, all good margarines have just enough salt to enhance the flavour.
Now it’s your turn
Making margarine at home is easy as. And if you don’t believe us, here’s a hand-picked simple recipe that’s vegan too.
You’ll need soy milk, vegetable oil, lemon juice and a food processor. Yes, that’s it! Start by putting the soy milk in the food processor and let it run for one minute on high. Then add the oil in a slow, steady stream while still processing the mixture until it’s emulsified. This should take no longer than two minutes. Next is the lemon juice and if you want to add other flavourings like herbs or pepper, now is the time to do so. Blend your mixture well, turn off your food processor and enjoy.