Our ingredients

When choosing our ingredients, it’s all about finding the right ones to make something that’s good for you and tastes great.

By ‘good for you’, first and foremost we mean that they’re good for teeth. This means we never use sugar and instead we sweeten everything with 100% xylitol (which has active dental benefits). We’re also very strict about making sure there’s nothing else in there that could damage teeth, so we steer clear of acidic flavours or colours.

We then add the best tasting flavours around. Whether it’s mint, lemons, eucalyptus or anything else, we search high and low and use only the finest. No artificial flavours or flavour enhancers and definitely no aspartame.

We also avoid any animal derived ingredients that can often be found in mints and gum, so no shellac or bovine gelatine. And finally everything is guaranteed to be GMO free.

This all means that everything we make is:

– Accredited by the British Dental Health Foundation for helping reduce plaque

– Sugar free

– Aspartame free

– Suitable for vegans and vegetarians

– GMO free

On these pages you can find out about every ingredient we use but if you’ve got any other questions, drop us an email to hello@peppersmith.co.uk.

Birch trees

Instead of sugar, we use xylitol to sweeten our mints and gum.

The reason we picked xylitol is because it is naturally derived and very importantly; actively good for teeth.

The xylitol we use is the highest quality available. It’s all made from European trees and vegetables that are certified GMO free.

You can read and see how it is great for looking after your teeth, here.

If you’re a dental health professional wanting to get in to the detail, there’s a whole section for you here.

Here’s a little film we made on our mint farm. It tells you all about the type of mint we use, how it’s processed and why we use it.

We get our peppermint (Mentha Piperita) and spearmint (Mentha Spicata) from a little farm in Hampshire.

Peppermint
For centuries very high quality peppermint has been grown in England. The best in the world used to come from the famous Mitcham triangle in Surrey between the towns of Sutton, Kingston and Mitcham. Much of this mint had to be pulled up after World War II to grow cereal crops to feed people. Now our farmer is trying to reintroduce this lovely crop back to England’s countryside.

Because we use this top notch peppermint, our mints and gum have the refreshing taste and rounded floral notes of real peppermint instead of the harsh intensity of artificial flavourings.

small-mint400

Spearmint
If you have mint growing in your back garden, it’s almost certainly this stuff. The best thing in the world for making homemade mint sauce – and not half bad for flavouring gum as well. It’s lovely and fresh but a bit more spicy and bitter than peppermint.

The process
It’s all very simple really. The mint is harvested every August. As soon as it’s cut from the field it goes into the barn where it’s distilled with steam to make our mint oil. Once the distillation is complete the mulchy remnants of the leaves are taken back out to the field. They sit there quietly until the colder winter months arrive when this minty compost is spread out over the new crop to provide nutrients and act as a nice warm winter coat.

If you’d like to see some photos of the mint farm, you can find them on our facebook page.

Lemon

Lemons are a great ingredient for us because, like mint, they taste great and are brilliant for freshening up the palate. There are many different ways to source lemon flavour, from lemon powders to artificial lemon essence. We choose to get ours from real lemons.

And not just any lemons. Ours are from Sicily, which almost everyone agrees are the best of the best. We use two different varieties; the Femminello and Monachello. These are very popular varieties in the region and for good reason – the good levels of citral and their strong delicious zesty taste. We use those from the winter crop as the climate at this time means they have a  superior flavour

Eucalyptus

These days most eucalyptus comes from China and if you want the cheapest stuff, that’s exactly where to get it.

But if you want the best tasting you should head to the traditional home of eucalyptus; Australia. We found exactly what we were looking for on a farm in New South Wales, grown by Richard and his dad Geoffrey (who founded the farm almost 50 years ago). The region is renowned for wild eucalyptus – it really is its natural home.

Harvesting eucalyptus

Richard and Geoffrey pride themselves on producing the highest quality eucalyptus you can find. They’re also dedicated to doing it in a sustainable way. Not only is the eucalyptus certified A Grade Organic by the Biological Farmers of Australia but more than just chemical-free production, they also use a full-circle nutrient system. Once the oil has been steam distilled, this extracted leaf is returned to the harvested area as surface mulch. The leaf mulch not only helps control the weeds but also provides nutrients for the soil, improving the health of the trees. The whole process is almost identical to the one used on our peppermint farm.

It’s a lovely tasting ingredient, sourced from its natural home, farmed by family who care about producing the best stuff and doing so in an environmentally sustainable way. We’re really happy we found them.

Strawberry and Vanilla

We use all natural ingredients in our Strawberry pastille recipe. This includes extracting the flavour from real strawberries and not some synthetic concoction from the lab. We don’t do that as we are always a bit scared of this sort of thing happening. Likewise, with the Vanilla.

This does cause us a few issues in that our strawberry product tastes of real strawberry and not artificial strawberry flavour which much to the chagrin of the flavour suppliers actually tastes quite different.

Sunflower Lecithin

Lecithin helps us get an even mix of the ingredients. You have to be careful where you get it from; soya and rapeseed are a good source but making sure they are non-GM soya can be problematic, as is making sure the cultivation and processing do not cause environmental damage. This is why we get ours from GMO free European Sunflowers.

Peppersmith Sunflowers

Gum Arabic

We use gum arabic to help all the ingredients stick together. We get ours from the stems and branches of the acacia tree (Acacia Senegal). An incision is made in the bark and the dried tears of the gum are collected. The only further processing is the removing of any foreign objects like twigs.

Gum base

The chewy base we use for our gum. It’s made from a mix of natural and man-made rubber. You can read about our adventures with gum base here.

Vegetable Glycerol

We use glycerol to stop the gum drying out and becoming hard. Glycerol is produced naturally by all plants and animals. Many confectionery companies use bovine gelatine, but we prefer to leave the animals be and get ours from vegetables.

Carnauba Wax

When we’ve made the gum and mints we coat them with carnauba wax to seal in the ingredients and help protect them from the effects of humidity. The carnauba wax we use is from the leaves of the Brazilian Wax Palm (Copernicia cerifera).

Calcium Stearate

We use this when we make our mints as without it the other ingredients stick to the machine that compresses them to make each individual mint. A lot of the stuff used in the industry is from animal sources but ours is high quality and derived from vegetables.

Tomato Lycopene

This is the natural colour we use in our strawberry pastilles. You would not believe how hard it is to find a red colour that is not made from beetles and/or rammed full of sugar. We looked long and hard and thankfully managed to source our colour directly from tomatoes. Lycopene has many proven health benefits and we are chuffed to be able to use it to make our Strawberry pastilles that little bit more strawberrish.

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