Summer is here and so, too, is the sudden need for children to have frozen treats stacked in the freezer.
These are this summer's favourite treat in our house, as voted by the 15-year-old. I have tried and failed to steer her towards less multi-coloured treats on the basis that if she's going to eat frozen sugar at least we can leave the artificial colours out of it.
"I don't like those other ones," she said as I tried to put this box back in the supermarket freezer. "These have real apple juice. Please, just this once, you never let me ..."
You can guess how the rest of the conversation went and after several minutes I began to feel that we were making a bit of a scene in the frozen foods section.
"All right, but I'm doing them for my column!"
• Water - No surprises here that most of the ice block is made up of water.
• Cane sugar - These are very high in sugar coming in at 20.2g per 92g serve. That's just under five teaspoons per ice block.
• Reconstituted apple juice (9%) - It's hard to take this ingredient too seriously as it is in here in such a small amount. You'll get just over 8g of apple juice per ice block. I think this is in here simply so that the producers could use the words "made with real apple juice" on the packaging.
• Glucose syrup - A liquid form of sugar.
• Glucose (from wheat) - More sugar, in this case the glucose is derived from wheat.
• Vegetable gums (410, 440a, 407) - These are locust bean gum (410), pectin (440a) and carrageenan (407). All are naturally occurring and will be in here as thickeners and gels to keep the ice block's texture smooth and creamy.
• Food acid (citric) - This is citric acid which could be in here as a natural preservative or for flavour.
• Colours (160a, 120, 100, 140) - I am pleasantly surprised to see that these colours are not artificial. They are carotene (160a) an orange/yellow colour which can be taken from carrots, algae or palm fruit oil. Cochineal or carmine (120) is a red colour made from the cochineal insect, curcumin (100) is a yellow colour which comes from the spice turmeric and chlorophyll (140) is a green colour which is found in grass, spinach and nettles.
• Flavours - These will be artificial and will provide the ice block with the peach, pineapple and blueberry flavour.
It's great to see natural colours being used in the ice block which features red, orange and green stripes.
Normally I would back away from this product presuming there were artificial colours in there.
But, there are still artificial flavours and this is high in sugar with nearly five teaspoons per block.
I'm also a little annoyed that the casual observer reading the packet in the freezer might think that these are made of apple juice when in reality only 9 per cent of the ice block is apple juice.
It is very easy to make your own ice blocks for children using fresh fruit juices, smoothies, flavoured milks or mixed up packet drinks (without artificial flavours or colours).
Try a Zoku ice-block maker which you keep in your freezer and which makes an ice block in five minutes.
• Packet says "made with real apple juice'' but in fact only 9 per cent of the ice block is apple juice.
• Uses natural colours.
• Uses artificial flavours.
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