It gets spicy for Jimmy in Food Unwrapped

Friday: Food Unwrapped; (Channel 4, 8pm)

Jimmy Doherty with turmeric
Jimmy Doherty with turmeric

Jimmy Doherty has been diligently investigating food production on Food Unwrapped since 2012.

And after 18 series and 23 specials on the show, the Suffolk-based farmer, entomologist and presenter says it’s still important that people are educated in knowing what is on their plate or in their glass.

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“What’s most shocking is the science that is involved in every day food and drinks,” he told the Daily Express. “You think a can of baked beans is quite a simple thing to create but when you realise the science and technology involved behind the scenes, it’s incredible. It’s so important, but not only knowing where it comes from but also the effort involved in getting it to you. Food is relatively cheap at the moment but every food production process has gone up in price which will inevitably be passed onto the consumer.”

Tonight, Jimmy, who also presents Jamie & Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast alongside his childhood friend Jamie Oliver, is investigating turmeric – sometimes called Indian saffron or the golden spice.

Turmeric has a warm, bitter taste and is frequently used to flavour or colour curry powders, mustards, butters, barbecue rubs, dressings and cheeses.

But not only does it add spice to food, turmeric can also play an important role in digesting food and is currently being explored as a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome.

In addition, the root of turmeric, which grows to one metre in height, is also used widely to make medicine (it has been treating people in the Himalayas for over 5,000 years) and contains a yellow-coloured chemical called curcumin, which is used to colour foods and cosmetics.

Jimmy visits India on the trail of the exotic spice and finds himself at a wedding where haldi or turmeric is applied on the couple’s faces and hands ahead of the ceremony, before guests are showered with it.

Also tonight, you may recall that a decade ago, Cadbury removed the famous “glass and a half” phrase from its Dairy Milk bars after 80 years, having been told it contravened European regulations. The phrase was originally used to explain the amount of milk in every half-pound chocolate bar.

Presenter Kate Quilton wants to find out how much milk goes into a bar of chocolate these days, and finds out that it can differ greatly depending on the manufacturer.

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Put it this way, the rough US guide of 10 per cent cocoa and at least 12 per cent milk solids isn’t always adhered to…

Finally, have you ever wondered why popular vegetable asparagus, which is used in frittatas, pastas and stir-fries around the world, gives some of us a rotten-like pungent problem with our pee?

Andi Oliver, who is also hosting The Great British Menu on BBC Two tonight, draws the short straw as she investigates. She is surprised to find out that not everyone produces the smell, and the majority of people can’t actually smell it due to a specific genetic modification.

Plus, as Andi explains, the whiff may be worth it anyway, as asparagus is not only low in calories, but also packed with essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

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