Well here is a new one for you: I'm sure most of us have glanced at a label before and noticed the words "natural flavoring" or "artificial flavoring".
Before I get in to my new favorite product I need to explain the difference between these two things:
If something is an artificial flavor it is made entirely in a lab. 100% synthetic. If something is a natural flavor, they will use an organic product such as plant based oils or natural salts and then alter them to get the taste they are looking for.
I am not implying that either is good or bad but simply that these terms are generic and don't tell us what we are really getting into.
It is amazing how much you can alter something to make an entirely different flavor or scent which brings me to my product of the day:
My fellow Canadians will get a real kick out of this one: Not only is one of our country's most beloved mascots super cute and handy at making dams, but as it turns out, some parts of him are downright delicious.
Now I will warn you that the following may ruin some foods for you or send you off to play Inspector Clouseau with your favorite products. Don't say I didn't warn you though.
Beaver Castoreum is a fluid derived from a sac that grows near the beaver's anal gland. It mixes with urine when the beaver needs to mark it's territory.
It also turns out that this delightful oil when diluted and modified slightly can be turned in to raspberry, vanilla or strawberry flavoring. And that is just what it is labelled: natural flavoring because it is derived from a natural source.
It is most commonly found in flavored alcoholic beverages, baked goods and soft and hard candies. It is also used in small amounts for adding to the flavor of cigarettes.
So there you have it! Another reason I believe in preparing more foods at home. Because if you pick up your favorite snack food or drink; you might be biting in to more than you bargain for (Mmmmm, beaver butt).