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Margarine, as a generic term, can indicate any of a wide range of butter substitutes. In many parts of the world, the market share of margarine and spreads has overtaken that of butter. Margarine is an ingredient in the preparation of many foods and, in recipes and colloquially, is sometimes called oleo, short for oleomargarine.
Modern margarines can be made from any of a wide variety of animal or vegetable fats, mixed with skimmed milk, salt, and emulsifiers. Like butter, margarine is about 80% fat, 20% water and solids, flavored, colored, and fortified with vitamin A, and sometimes D, to match butter's nutritional contribution to the human diet. The oil is pressed from seeds, purified, hydrogenated, and then fortified and colored, either with a synthetic carotene or annatto. The water phase is usually reconstituted, or skimmed milk, that is cultured with lactic acid bacteria to produce a stronger flavor. Emulsifiers such as lecithin help disperse the water phase evenly throughout the oil, and salt and preservatives are also commonly added. This oil and water emulsion is then heated, blended, and cooled. The softer tub margarines are made with less hydrogenated, more liquid, oils than block margarines.
Three main types of margarine are common today:
Source and Photo Credit: wikipedia.org
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