Crème fraîche. Photo courtesy Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CRÈME FRAÎCHE & SOUR CREAM
These two fresh dairy products are similar, and sometimes can be substituted for each other.
Sour cream is:
Tangier than sour cream.
Made by thickening cream with lactic acid cultures.
Has a fat content of about 20%, and more protein—which is why heating it results in curdling.
Can include stabilizers and thickeners, such as gelatin, rennin (a protein-digesting enzyme that curdles milk) and vegetable enzymes.
Thicker and richer than sour cream, with a fat content of about 30%.
Made traditionally made (in France) from unpasteurized cream that naturally contained the right bacteria to thicken it. In the U.S., which has pasteurized cream, crème fraîche is made by adding the bacteria with other fermenting agents.
Does not contain added stabilizers or thickeners.
Crème fraîche is:
THE HISTORY OF JELL-O
Gelatin (also spelled gelatine) has been made since ancient times by boiling animal and fish bones; aspic, a savory, gelatin-like food made from meat or fish stock, was a French specialty centuries before the day of commercial gelatin, and was very difficult to prepare, relying only on the natural gelatin found in the meat to make the aspic set.
Powdered gelatin was invented in 1682 by Denis Papin. The concept of cooking it with sugar to make dessert dates to 1845 and an American inventor named Peter Cooper. Cooper patented a product that was set with gelatin, but it didn’t take off.
In 1897, Pearle Wait, a carpenter in Le Roy, New York (Genesee County), experimented with gelatin and developed a fruit flavored dessert which his wife, May, named Jell-O. The first four flavors were orange, lemon, strawberry and raspberry.
He tried to market his product but lacked the capital and experience, and in 1899 sold his formula to a fellow townsman and manufacturer of proprietary medicines, Orator Frank Woodward, for $450. Jell-O was manufactured by Andrew Samuel Nico of Lyons, New York.
Alas, sales were slow and one day, Wait sold Sam Nico the business for $35. In 1900, the Genesee Pure Food Company promoted Jell-O in a successful advertising and by 1902 sales were $250,000. In 1923 management created the Jell-O Company, Inc., which replaced the Genesee Pure Foods Company, the purpose of which was to protect the Jell-O trade name and to keep it from becoming a generic term.
That same year, the Jell-O Company was sold to the Postum Cereal Company, the first subsidiary of a large merger that would eventually become General Foods Corporation. Lime Jell-O was introduced in 1930.
Today Jell-O is manufactured by Kraft Foods, a subsidiary of Phillip Morris, which also acquired both Kraft and General Foods in the 1980s and ultimately merged the two companies. There is a Jell-O Museum in Le Roy, New York.