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...]

Coffee and Furfuryl mercaptan FEMA 2493

coffee cup

Small houses keep a family close. My childhood home was built in the 1950's and it is small and cozy. The kitchen has a dining room table that has a view of "out back". "Out back" is not small. There are five acres in which we raised cattle and hundreds of acres beyond which cattle once roamed. I have fond memories of mornings eating breakfast, looking out and smelling coffee. Perhaps this is why coffee is my favorite beverage. Furfuryl mercaptan (otherwise known as coffee mercaptan) is the characterizing component of coffee. Coffee flavor and Furfuryl mercaptan are generated by a roasting process and a chemical reaction called the Maillard reaction. The Maillard reaction is one of the most important reactions in food flavor … [Read more...]

Fenugreek Extract and Maple Flavor FEMA #2486

Maple syrup

Until recently, I didn't realize¬†Fenugreek seeds were one of the main ingredients in Indian spiced curry. My experience with Fenugreek was that it is brown sticky mass that smelled like maple. I knew Fenugreek not as a seed or a plant, but as a botanical extract. Extracts are concentrated natural products obtained by solvent extraction (i.e. ethyl alcohol or hexane extraction). The aroma and taste components that are extracted by the solvent are further concentrated by evaporating the solvent. Once the solvent is removed, a botanical extract is made by combining the ¬†aroma and taste components with a mixture of glycerine, caramel color and corn syrup. A flavor chemist has the option of using roasted or unroasted¬†Fenugreek. Fenugreek … [Read more...]