Here is a great little news piece from the NY Times. I know that herbs and spices are among God’s miracles but now science is busy proving it. Mankind started out using herbs for remedies and germ fighters only to end up synthesizing their properties instead of using the original. I know this may be easier, faster and cheaper and provide for larger quantities over time but is it always wise?
And food manufacturers have been relying on all kinds of chemicals and additives to inhibit mold growth on food and extend shelf life. This is especially true of baked goods like bread and donuts. But now they have found the mold fighting properties in this wonderful spice and we are now looking at a new era in baked goods where natural mold fighters like cinnamon take over for dangerous chemicals and additives.
In addition to its sweet, woody aroma, so beloved in potpourri and apple pies, cinnamon has long been known for its ability to halt spoilage. Egyptian embalmers used it in their embalming fluids meant to preserve dead bodies. They may not have known about microbes way back then but they could see the effect of the spice on their mummies.
Now, Spanish researchers, harking back to the wisdom of the ages, has developed an “anti-mold” wrapper for baked goods. In the Aug. 13 issue of The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, they report that even with bread already tainted with mold, a wax paper made with 6 percent cinnamon oil inhibited the further growth of more mold by 96 percent, prolonging freshness by up to 10 days. In alternate testing, the plain wax paper did not slow the mold growth at all.
Cristina Nerin, a researcher at the University of Zaragoza, has been quoted as saying that “a cinnamon-containing plastic” has already been developed and was in current use commercially. The wrapper is also being tested for effectiveness in preserving fruits, vegetables and meats. Of course, the cinnamon wrapper is safe and environmentally friendly. Cinnamon itself is a non toxic spice with no known dangers, even in large amounts.
In some cases, the wrapper may add a cinnamon aroma to the food. In testing other methods, Dr. Nerin has pointed out, it was found that adding cinnamon directly to the bread itself was less effective in preserving the bread. The Doctor added that this was because the protective compounds were not released uniformly.
What a wonderful concept! A new, non toxic mold growth inhibitor. Perhaps if they work with even further they can find a way to use it in other forms of mold, including this awful mold that gets into our homes after long rains and floods. The only thing I can see that must be handled is the tendency to transfer the Cinnamon scent or taste to the food. I don’t really want to eat a garden burger on Cinnamon bread. And I would really hate it if it transferred to the garlic knots or pizza.
But I am sure with further testing and application, they will be able to perfect this inexpensive and non toxic solution. It might even bring down the cost of baked goods by a few cents. Wouldn’t that be nice? I just couldn’t resist passing this along to my readers. I