Elderberry Extract Nutritional Supplement
Norm’s Farms Elderberry Extract is a very simple nutritional supplement, containing only elderberry, a little water and malic acid. The simplicity of Norm’s Farms Elderberry Extract is so appealing; no unnecessary additives or fillers to dilute or masque the amazing flavor and power of elderberry, and no medicinal taste. Everyone understands elderberry and water, but why are we adding malic acid? And what is malic acid?
Why does Norm’s Farms add Malic Acid to Elderberry Extract?
There’s a science to creating safely bottled and canned foods. Certain dangerous bacteria that cause food poisoning thrive in moist, oxygen deprived environments and improperly canned foods create just that environment. Of especial concern is the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. The spores of these bacteria can survive harmlessly in soil and water for many years and botulinum spores are on most fresh food surfaces. Because Clostridium botulinum will germinate and grow only in the absence of air, they are harmless on fresh foods. These bacteria need several things in order to germinate, multiply rapidly and become a deadly food poison: moisture and low acidity, a temperature between 40 and 120°F and less than 2 percent oxygen. In order to avoid creating a botulism friendly environment when bottling or canning, it’s important to pay attention to the pH of the food that you are bottling and the temperature at which you bottle it.
Elderberry is considered a low acid fruit with an average pH of about 4.8. Because it is a low acid fruit it is important to add an acidifier to bring the pH down in order to create an inhospitable environment for the germination of Clostridium botulinum spores. There are several acidifying options available and lemon juice, which is highly acidic, is an obvious choice. Lemon juice is both a powerful acidifier and a powerful flavor! Sometimes the flavor of lemon is the perfect complement to a food, and other times it can positively overwhelm it. We found that adding lemon juice to our elderberry juice sent the flavor in the wrong direction so we went on the hunt for other acidifying options. We explored citric acid, and rejected it because it was too tart, and more importantly, most citric acid these days is made from GMO corn. We then began to research and taste test malic acid.
What is malic acid?
Malic acid is a natural component of vegetables and fruit. The name “malic acid” is derived from the genus name for domestic apples: “Malus domestica” as apples are the richest source of this naturally occurring acidifier. Malic acid is responsible for the tartness of apples, and interestingly, malic acid is not just used as a natural acidifier. It is also being used to treat people with chronic fatigue syndrome (it has positive effects on metabolism) and fibromyalgia (it reduces muscle pain and is used by athletes to speed recovery of muscle tissues after workouts). The fact that malic acid is being used as a nutritional supplement encouraged us to give it a try as an acidifier for our Elderberry Extract. We were pleased with how malic acid complimented the taste and mouth feel of our elderberry extract without overwhelming the unique and pleasant berry taste. When we found a source that made allergen-free, GMO free, natural malic acid, we knew we had found our acidifier!
It doesn’t take much malic acid to bring down the pH of elderberry. In fact, the malic acid in our Elderberry Extract is only .013% by volume. That little bit of malic acid is a key ingredient in our recipe for creating our simple, natural and protective Elderberry Extract.
Analysis of Elderberry Fruit and Juice Characteristics, Andrew L Thomas, Southwest Research Center, Mount Vernon, MO
Benefits of Malic Acid, Acidpedia
Ensuring Safe Canned Foods, National Center for Home Food Preservation