The silver is edible, though flavourless. It is also commonly used in India as a coating on sweets, dry fruits (such as almonds, cashews, and dates), and in sugar balls, betel nuts, cardamom, and other spices. Silver foil, or Varakh, as it is generally known in India, adds glitter to Indian sweets, betel nut (Supari), Paan (betel-leaf), and fruits. It is also used in Ayurvedic medicines. According to a survey, an astounding 275 tons of silver are eaten annually into a foil for sweets and chyavanprash! That is a whopping 2,75,000 kilograms! (At the present market rate that would cost a phenomenal Rs. 165 Crore).
Edible silver and gold foils on sweets, confectionery and desserts are not unique to the Indian subcontinent; other regions such as Japan and Europe have long used precious metal foils as food cover and also decoration, including speciality drinks such as Danziger Goldwasser. The silver-topped sweet is even served as Prashad in many temples and on auspicious and religious occasions. Varakh is also used in flavoured syrups as in Kesar (saffron) syrup.
in India using Consumable Gold Leaves and Silver leaves in huge quantity, As par Unani, Turkey, Egyptian, Greece, Italian and Indian Ayurveda Consumable Silver and Gold have several benefits. Not only the sweets but nowadays it is also applied on fruits. Some Ayurvedic medicines also are wrapped in silver foils.
Reasons to use Vark in sweets
Enhances the visual appeal of sweet and acts as a visual treat
Good for the human body (many technical explanations to support this) Shows sign of prosperity for the family
You can also see vark coatings in dry fruits (like almond, cashew, dates etc.)
Is it safe to eat Vark coated food?
Gold and silver are approved food foils in the European Union, as E175 and E174 additives respectively. These are not toxic to the human body and are safe to eat.
Warnings About Vark Usage
Silver foils are certified to be safe only if the purity is close to 100% (0.1% deviation allowed). In reality, it is very difficult to check and food manufacturers can indulge in profit making by compromising the quality of Vark. India does not have the control mechanism to check the purity of this vark.
Numerous cases of low-quality silver or usage of aluminium are reported. So precaution has to be taken while indulging in these sweets. Quantity exposed is very less so we will not face immediate health degradation but if consumed for a longer run, this can cause severe illness to our body.
How to check purity?
Silver vark is very fine and so it will disintegrate when rubbed between the fingers. An alloy of aluminium is not as fine and if you rub it between the fingers, it will roll up into a ball. Also, the adulterated silver foil will not spread out so smoothly but tend to break instead.
To be continued…….