Saturday, December 1, 2012

Sulfite free 'maraschino' cherry recipe

As I stated in a previous post, this was a great year for cherries in Indiana. Having an abundance of cherries on hand, naturally lead to some experimenting. We made cherry vinegar to use in place of balsamic vinegar and also bourbon cherries to use in place of maraschino cherries. Traditionally maraschino cherries would be made with Brandy, but since Brandy is a derivative of grape juice we avoid it at all costs. See our recipe below for bourbon cherries which can be used in place of maraschino cherries.

Bourbon cherries
  • 3 cups Bourbon
  • 2 cups fresh cherries
  1. Wash two cups of cherries and remove the stems and the pits. Place the cherries in a large mason jar.
  2. Add three cups of Bourbon to the mason jar and seal with the lid. Place in a cool dark place for one week. Shake the jar once a day for seven days. Helpful tip: keep stored next to your coffee grinds so you see it every day and remember to shake it.
  3. Using a fine sieve strain the liquid from the cherries. Store the infused bourbon in a mason jar in the freezer.

Sulfite free balsamic vinegar substitute

I have been unable to find a commercial product to use in place of balsamic vinegar. Being sulfite sensitive, my husband avoids all things grape. Luckily this year was a great year for cherries in Indiana.

What You Need:
  • Sterilized pint jar, with lid
  • Fresh cherries, washed and pitted
  • White vinegar
Take a sterilized pint jar and fill with pitted cherries. The more cherries you use the stronger the flavor. Cover with white vinegar and let sit in the refrigerator. If you are giving these as decorative gifts you can strain the liquid and place in a decorative jar. Or just keep the pint jar in the fridge and pour so the fruit stays in the bottom. As long as the fruit is covered it should not spoil.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Non-occupational sources of sodium metabisulfite

Cosmetics (hair colours and bleaches, skin fading/lighteners, false tan lotions, antiageing creams and moisturizers, facial cleansers, around-eye creams, body washes/cleansers, hair sprays, perfumes, blush, bronzers/highlighters).

Swimming pool water

Food preservatives/additatives (avoid everything in the 220's)

  • E 220 = sulfur dioxides = May cause allergic reactions in asthmatics, destroys vitamin B1, typical products are beer, soft drinks, dried fruit, juices, cordials, wine, vinegar, potato products
  • E 221 = sodium suflite
  • E 222 = sodium bisulfite
  • E 223 = sodium metabisulfite
  • E 224 = potassium metabisulfite
  • E 225 = potassium sulfite
  • E 226 = calcium sulfite
  • E 227 = calcium hydrogen suflite
  • E 228 = potassium bisulfite (SOURCE)

Madan, Vishal et al., Contact Dermatitis, 2007: 57: 173-176.

Occupational sources and uses of sodium metabisulfite

Industry = Use

Food and drink = Preservation and sterilization, refining sugar

Brewing, wine making = Sterilization in fermentation processes

Photographic chemicals = Formulation of developers and fixers

Dye houses/laundries = Color stripper and anti-chlor

Leather = Tanning (acidifying agent), solubilizing agent for tannins, reducing chrome liquors

Mineral extraction = Ore floatation aid

Effluent treatment = To reduce chromium salts

Chemical manufacture = In the manufacture of sulfosuccinates and sodium formaldehyde bisulfite

Rubber manufacture = Latex anticoagulant

Parenteral solutions = Prevent oxidation of adrenaline

Madan, Vishal et al., Contact Detmatitis, 2007: 57: 173-176.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sulfite Oxidation - How the body processes sulfites

In my quest to understand sulfite sensitivities, I decided to find out what happens when a person ingests sulfites. What does the body do? Surprisingly, this was not a simple task for me so fair warning, this post will be very technical. I have made every attempt to diffuse the science into understandable everyday speak, if you would like to see the literature in its full scientific glory please follow the source links or email me for a copy of the journal article. Now on to the good stuff...

According to Parcell, compounds containing sulfur are found in all body cells and are indispensable for life. Sulfur is the sixth most abundant macromineral in breast milk and the third most abundant mineral determined by percentage of total body weight in adults. The term "thiol" refers to compounds containing sulfur. Sulfur is not normally added to the diet as a supplement because it occurs naturally in the following amino acids:
  • Methionine
  • Cysteine
  • Cystine
  • Homocysteine
  • Homocystine
  • Taurine
When sulfur is ingested it is converted to sulfate and excreted through urine or reused by the body. In plants and bacteria this process is called biosynthesis and in humans it is called oxidation.

So what's the difference between the the suffixes - ide, ate, ite?
  • Ide is the ending used by binary compounds. The metal name goes first, then the nonmetal followed by ide. Sulf+ide = sulfide.

  • Ate means with oxygen. Sulf+ate = sulfate.
  • Ite means means less oxygen. Sulf+ite = sulfite.
Which brings us to sulfite oxidase, how the body processes sulfites.

According to Changjian et al, molybdenum (Mo) is the only second transition metal that has known biological functions in all forms of life; over 50 molybdoenzymes are known to catalyze oxidation-reduction reactions that are essential in the metabolism of carbon, nitrogen and sulfur. For animals there are two molybdoenzymes in sulfite oxidase family: Animal Sulfite Oxidase (a mitochondrial enzyme) and A. thaliana Sulfite Oxidase.

So when a person ingests sulfites, the sulfites are oxidized to sulfates at the molybdenum center and the reduced equilivants (sulfates and the reduced enzyme) are excreted through urine or reused by the body. This explains why a person with a sulfite sensitivity may benefit from taking a molybdenum supplement - having more molybdenum in their system means it is available to help in the oxidase of sulfites.

Additional sources:

Feng, Changjin, Gordon Tollin, John Enemark. Biochim Biophys Acta 2007; 1774(5): 527-539.

Parcell, Stephen. Alternative Medicine Review 2002; 7(1): 22-24.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Vitamin Supplements

My husband takes the vitamin supplements below on a daily basis:

Vitamin D3, D-1000 IU, made by Natures Bounty
Vitamin B-12, 1000 MCG, made by Natures Bounty
Folic Acid, 800 MCG, made by Sundown
Molybdenum, (also known as Moly-B), 250 MCG, made by Carlson

Even if you believe you have a healthy balanced diet it is important that you consult a medical professional to determine if you have a mineral, amino acid, enzyme or vitamin deficiency. These test will also provide you with a measure of your body's total antioxidant function. Not all conventional doctors will perform the more comprehensive tests as some of the tests are quite complex and expensive, making insurance coverage more difficult to receive. However, a quick google search of homeopathic medical provides should point you in the right direction.

For those of you living in Indianapolis, IN I went to Linda J. Spencer, FNP as a new patient, requested all of the diagnostic tests and she did not question my motives or try to sell me supplements. My insurance even paid for the testing (which was expensive) and the portion that I was responsible for was reasonable. My General Practioner doctor had been prescribing me ointment for eczema on my foot for years and it was Dr. Spencer who diagnosed mild food allergies as the cause. Now that I have eliminated those foods from my diet my eczema is clearing up.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Neutralizing sulfites

As an extension of avoidance, sometimes you can neutralize sulfites before eating them.

Hydrogen peroxide is a strong oxidant and widely available as a 3% solution. When added to sulfite, hydrogen peroxide will oxidize the sulfite ions, converting them to the safe sulfate form. Most sulfite problems do not extend to sulfates. If you suspect that a food may be contaminated with surface sulfites, soak it for a few minutes in a sink full of water with a tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide. Then rinse with fresh water before eating. This will convert surface sulfites to sulfates and lower your risk. Of course, if the sulfite has penetrated the interior of the food, soaking won't help very much. You could use this technique on berries (or fish) to improve your odds. Note that a few unlucky people are also intolerant of sulfates. For these people, washing with hydrogen peroxide won't help. Sulfate sensitive people usually react to soap, shampoo and toothpaste containing sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) causing skin rashes. So if you don't get skin rashes from soap, don't worry about sulfates. (SOURCE)

Chlorella algae, spinach, and wheatgrass have also been studied and proven to neutralize sulfites at various levels of efficacy. Chlorella algae is so named because it contains the highest concentration of chlorophyll for any plant on Earth. As far as sulfites are concerned, what's important is the high concentration of chlorphyll and associated chloroplasts (SOURCE). In the mid-90's Jolivet and coworkers reported that chloroplasts from plants (such as spinach and wheatgrass) contain an enzyme system capable of carrying out the efficient oxidation of sulfite to sulfate.

Lin and Georgiou, proposed methods of sulfite neutralization that include sulfite oxidation kits with chloroplasts and buffer components that could be manufactured by encapsulating chloroplasts in semi-permeable pouches (which could then be put into sulfite beverages). Williams studied the efficacy of sulfite reduction by wheatgrass (reduced by 900 ug) and chlorella tablets (reduced by 1000 ug). (SOURCE)

Additional sources:

Jolivet P, Bergeron E, Zimierski A, Meunier J-C. 1995. Metabolism of elemental sulfur and oxidation of sulfite by wheat and spinach chloroplasts. Phytochem 38:9-14.

Georgiou, G, Lin S. 2001. A biocatalyst for the Removal of Sulfite from Alcoholic Beverages. Published online 11 November 2004 in Wiley InterScience ( DOI: 10.1002/bit.20307