Mushrooms in the Toolbox

Honest preservatives in your food

Updated on
Mushrooms in the Toolbox

At Ones+ we are interested in food, and the ritual of setting the table for guests. It’s good to have someone else thinking about your food source, because people are pressed for time. Instead of thinking “what’s in this food?” it’s “what’s a quick cupboard-to-table option?”

Not that food shouldn’t be convenient, shelf life is on our minds. In the wine tradition, winemakers have a couple of tools at their disposal: alcohol and acid. The discovery of wine and its stability in the bottle didn’t happen in a lab; it evolved over time as the farmers paid attention to vats of grape juice that fermented.

The research of farms has moved to labs with preservation remaining a challenge, specifically on making sweet products shelf-stable. The problem is that if you put sugar into a sealed container, the product can’t sit on a grocery store shelf without spoiling. So scientists make chemicals and processes to solve this problem.

It solves the convenience obstacle, which is their goal, but it doesn’t meet our standard which is: Do I want to serve this food to my guest if it has weird preservatives?

At Ones+ we’ve touched the surface in our research on preservatives in beverages (with names we're not sure how to pronounce), but it’s hard to reach conclusions. Thankfully, our job is easier because we decided to take a different route from the other non-alcoholic wines on the market by not adding sugar.

Sugar is a double-edged sword. Mass-produced goods must satisfy the average consumer, and their preference is for sweetened products. A spoonful of sugar helps the wine go down.

However, if you add sugar you’ve got to contend with volatility, because sugar will ferment unless held in check. Sugary beverages are reliant on chemicals.

Our approach is to stick to the basics of a winemaker, relying on a combination of alcohol, acid, filtration, and a bit of sulfur. It means that Ones+ is closer to wine than it is to coca-cola. It will change and evolve. To the customer that appreciates living food, this is good.

Now why is this piece titled Mushrooms? In our work to give you the best product, one that has the living features of food but can sit on the shelf like wine, we are looking at ways to improve its stability. There is evidence to suggest that certain mushrooms have preservative functions.

We love fungi! Without its role in fermentation, there would be no wine to serve at the table. We want to learn more.

This is the sort of research we’re doing as we look at our next bottling. Reception for Ones+ has been great, and we’re planning another release pre-Christmas as our supplies dwindle.

We’ll let you know the progress we make with mushrooms and other components of Ones+. In the meantime, enjoy the tail end of Thanksgiving.

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