Blackberries and Ionones, Irones and Damascones

wild blackberries in the Northwest U.S.

Rows and rows of wild blackberries grew in the pasture behind my childhood home. I will forever remember the fragrant smell of these wild berries on a warm summer night. When I began my flavor chemist training, my first impression of elderflower absolute was ripe wild blackberries on a hot summer night. The smell of wild blackberries drying in the hot summer sun is deliciously sweet, slightly floral, yet full of ripe berry richness. My siblings,the neighbor kids and I would fill empty stainless steel milk buckets with the berries. Sometimes, we made a cobbler, but most times, we just ate the berries we picked. Currently, my home in the Northwest U.S. is surrounded by wild blackberry plants. I love to inhale their delicious odor and … [Read more...]

Butter Flavor, Diacetyl FEMA 2379

cant believe butter

Diacetyl (2,3-Butadione), the characterizing component of butter, is a naturally present flavor component in many of my favorite foods: butter, wine, coffee, strawberries, cheese, tea, beer and mangos. Just like butter is essential to any good recipe, diacetyl was an essential ingredient for flavors. I say was, because  diacetyl has been implicated in causing bronchiolitis obliterans, a debilitating and sometimes fatal lung disease, in workers in the food and flavor industry (http://defendingscience.org/case-studies/case-regulatory-failure-popcorn-workers-lung). Since then, it's use is in flavors is "complicated". Diacetyl, a yellow liquid,  is naturally present in food and safe to consume and the level used in food, but it is hazardous … [Read more...]