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After you purchase Nutella from your local grocery store or market, you may wonder how to store it in your home. Do you need to refrigerate it or can it be left out?
The label on the package states that Nutella does not need to be refrigerated. This is because the large quantity of sugar in the product acts as a preservative to prevent the growth of microorganisms.
More specifically, the sugar acts as a preservative by binding the water in the product, which prevents the microorganisms from growing.
Refrigeration causes Nutella to harden, because it contains fats from the hazelnuts. When nut fats are placed in cold temperatures, they become too hard to spread.
Hazelnuts contain almost 91 percent monounsaturated fat, which are known to be liquid at room temperature and solidify at refrigerator temperatures. Room temperature allows the product to have a smooth and spreadable consistency, because the monounsaturated oils from the hazelnut are liquid in this state.
In addition, the palm oil used in Nutella does not require refrigeration, because it contains high amounts of saturated fat and resists becoming rancid. The remaining ingredients in Nutella, such as cocoa, skimmed milk powder, soy lecithin, and vanilla, also do not require refrigeration.
This makes Nutella a great product to have on hand for when refrigeration isn’t available.
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How Nutella Is Made
Nutella is a brand of hazelnut and cocoa paste-like spread that is mostly made up of sugar and palm oil.The process of making this spread begins with the extraction of cocoa powder from the cocoa bean.
These cocoa beans are harvested from cocoa trees and are left to dry for about ten days days before being shipped for processing. Typically, cocoa beans contain approximately 50 percent of cocoa butter; therefore, they must be roasted to reduce the cocoa bean into a liquid form.
This step is not sufficient for turning cocoa beans into a chocolate paste because it solidifies at room temperature and would not be spreadable. After the initial roast, the liquid paste is sent to presses, which are used to squeeze the butter out of the cocoa bean.
The final products are round discs of chocolate made of pure compressed cocoa. The cocoa butter is transferred elsewhere so it can be used in other products.
The second process involves the hazelnuts. Once the hazelnuts have arrived at the processing plant, quality control is done to inspect the nuts so they are suitable for processing.
A chopping device is used to chop the nuts to inspect the interior. After this process, the hazelnuts are cleaned and roasted. A second quality control is done by a computer-controlled blast of air, which removes the bad nuts from the batch.
This ensures that each jar of Nutella is uniform in its look and taste.
The cocoa powder is then mixed with the hazelnuts along with sugar, vanilla and skim milk in a large tank, until it becomes a paste-like spread. Modified palm oil is then added to help retain the solid phase of the Nutella at room temperature, which substitutes for the butter found in the cocoa bean.
Whey powder is then added to the mix to act as a binder for the paste. Whey powder is an additive commonly used in spreads to prevent the coagulation of the product, because it stabilizes the fat emulsions.
Similarly, lecithin, a form of a fatty substance found in animal and plant tissues, is added to help emulsify the paste, as it promotes homogenized mixing of the different ingredients, allowing the paste to become spreadable.
It also aids the lipophilic properties of the cocoa powder, which, again, keeps the product from separating. Vanilla is added to enhance the sweetness of the chocolate. The finished product is then packaged.
When Was Nutella First Manufactured?
During World War II, chocolate was both expensive and scarce across Europe. Determined cocoa lover and Italian pastry maker Pietro Ferrero mixed hazelnuts with his rations of the delicacy to make it last longer.
Thus, an early version of Nutella was born.
In the beginning it wasn’t really a spread at all. Ferrero originally designed the chocolate and hazelnut paste as a loaf, which could then be sliced and placed on individual pieces of bread, like you might do with a cut of meat or piece of American cheese.
After Pietro passed away, his son, Michele, took over the family business and created the modern day version of Nutella (the one that comes in a jar, not a loaf). He died in 2015, but his son, Giovanni, had already taken the role of CEO.
In just over 50 years since its official humble beginnings in Italy, Nutella has become an international household name and is available in 160 countries.
The Nutella made in Europe is made a bit different than its counterpart in America. But they are close. The difference between a few key ingredients makes for a reportedly noticeable difference in the taste of the Nutella.
In the American manufacturing process, Nutella uses palm oil, cocoa, skim milk, and reduced minerals whey, whereas overseas, the Nutella recipe calls for vegetable oil, fat reduced cocoa powder, skimmed milk poser, and whey powder.
As far as how that transfers into taste? American Nutella is a bit more oily and more mildly flavored.
How Many Hazelnuts Are Used In Each Jar Of Nutella?
Each jar of Nutella uses approximately 52 hazelnuts. The company claims that one jar of Nutella is purchased every 2.5 seconds, and every 10 minutes there are 240 jars of Nutella sold.
That means that, according to Nutella advertisements, over 12,000 hazelnuts were packed into those 240 jars that just sold. And, believe it or not, those hazelnuts only account for 13 percent of the product.
Despite being made primarily of nuts, Nutella is not considered to be a healthy product. This is because the first ingredient is sugar.
But, it’s a great product to indulge in when you get a craving for it, and a product that has its counterpart no matter where you travel in the world.