I love the meme “Throwback Thursday” so I’m participating with my own herbmama twist. We’re playing with Vinegars (and honeys and elixirs) at HerbCamp so I found an old vinegar post from my archives, back when I blogged as Suburban Boho Misfit. This one was written in December, 2009. I’ve kept it as originally written.
Beware the Vinegar
Interrupting the holiday cheer to share some must share bombastic information I received yesterday. One of my favorite foods, consumed at least once per day is the next big thing on the do-not-eat-this-or-you-will-die-or-grow-another-limb-out-of-your-head-or-something list. Balsamic Vinegar. Watch out it contains trace amounts of lead. Even organic brands and conscious companies like Newman’s Own. And the biggest offenders are my favorite specialty aged balsalmics from Italy. As I looked all over the Internet (yes the best source…) for more information, the only paper I could find to report on it was the San Francisco Gate. You can read the details and do your own googling. I just need to vent for a moment.
Now I don’t mean to undermine the problem with lead exposure. We’re huge organico-locavores subsisting on a largely macro whole foods type diet. Most of what we eat comes from a vendor or seller we know personally, is certified organic, or is one of the brands we’ve researched enough to feel comfortable about. I do fall off the wagon now and again but it doesn’t take much (Food, Inc anyone?) to get me back in line. Now you also know I’m not a zealot or anything, we just do what we can. But, seriously I’m a little annoyed. From the bits and pieces I’ve read this may be a bit blown out of proportion. So now because lead naturally is in the soil where grapes grow, it might get into your vinegar. Duh. Along with apples and olives etc. I guess it’s the acidic property of the vinegar that contributes to the higher amounts found. But still you’d have to drink at least 1 cup a day for it to become a problem. And what about the centuries old known healing properties of vinegar, it’s very name is derived from the healing purposes it was used for. Then again if you add all the other random exposures like keys and old houses, maybe I should be saying, why risk it. Maybe, it’s better that we at least know and can make our own decisions. But do we need another little it-maybe-harmful thing to freak out about, especially when someone is pregnant and every single freaking minute of the day someone tells you about something else you need to avoid so you don’t kill your baby? Where’s my bubble… Obviously, I’m conflicted.
There is one company that’s already responded to the crisis. O Olive Oil states their vinegars are certified lead-free and contain at least 30 times less lead than even the safe levels set by Prop 65. I do remember seeing them in the store, but mistook the beautiful bottle for lemoncello. I’m off to buy some today, and at $12 for 200 ml (that’s less than 8 ounces, say bye-bye to balsamic reduction) it better be good.
I love Michael Pollan’s approach to the whole food dilemma and immediately put another of his lovely books on hold at the library. Hopefully his concerned, but honest and reality-based perspective will calm me down some. To give yourself a break from all the crazy, I highly recommend the new documentary from his book, The Botany of Desire. It’s free on Netflix streaming if you subscribe.
Back to the vinegar. What’s a bread dippin’ salad eatin’ girl to do? I’m not quite ready to put all my bottles into quarantine, but until I can learn more it will have the same fate our meat consumption now does: sparingly and as a side. Or maybe I’ll just pour myself a glass and chug.
What a fun trip down memory lane! You can still join HerbCamp Sweet and Sour
to learn more about fun with vinegars. It is a self-paced, self-directed course you can join anytime and get immediate access to all the material as well as the HerbMama community.