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Food glossary

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Margarine

Originally produced in 19th century France as a cheaper alternative to butter, many different varieties of margarine are available today in Waitrose. Many margarines are made with vegetable fat but some do contain milk or other animal fats - check the label if you want a vegetarian margarine or have particular dietary requirements.

Some types of margarine are lower in saturated fat and overall total fat than butter, so can be a healthier choice if you are on a reduced-fat diet, again check the label before buying. There are two main types of margarine - hard margarine, which is sold in blocks like butter, and soft margarine, which is sold in tubs. Margarine has a different flavour from butter and different types of margarine can also vary in flavour.

Uses: Soft margarine is not really a substitute for butter but can be used as a spread and in some cake recipes (only where soft margarine is specified), it cannot be used for frying as it burns very easily. Hard margarine has similar properties to butter and can be used for baking, frying and spreading. Low-fat margarines are not suitable for cooking or baking due to their high water content.

To store: Keep margarine in the fridge and consume by the use by date.

Sunflower spread or margarine

Sunflower spread or margarine is made from sunflower oil and is high in polyunsaturated fat and low in saturated fat. Waitrose Sunflower Spread and Flora Sunflower Spread are available from Waitrose.

Uses: Sunflower spread can be used in the same way as butter - on bread, toast, scones, crumpets or muffins and also in cooking.

To store: Keep sunflower spread in the fridge and consume by the use by date.