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Margarine is a butter substitute that has been made from the hydrogenation of vegetable fats, often mixed with animal fats. Vegetarian margarine is pure vegetable fat, but you need to look carefully to ensure you get what you think you're buying.

Block margarine is an emulsion of vegetable oils and animal fats. Use black margarine like butter for frying, baking and as a spread.

Polyunsaturated margarine is made from refined and purified vegetable fats and has a high proportion of water remaining. While polyunsaturated margarine spreads well, it is not very good for baking.

Further Reading

Dowell, P., Bailey, A. (1980) The Book of Ingredients, Dorling Kindersley. ISBN 0718119150.