Maybe you’re not not religious or Christian, so Easter is not a holiday you celebrate. But perhaps you still enjoy some of the more light-hearted traditions (in the U.S.), such as the brightly colored marshmallow bunnies and chicks called Peeps.
If you’re avoiding meat and any products made from animals, Peeps are on the “no thank you” list. Marshmallows look innocuous enough. But they can sometimes contain eggs and most commercially-produced ones use gelatin, which is derived from the hides and bones of animals (which could have been taken from pigs, meaning that many brands of marshmallows are not halal or kosher). In addition, gelatin has been reported to transmit bovine spongiform encephalopathy — Mad Cow Disease).
Fortunately, there’s more than one way to make a marshmallow than with artificial colors and animal-based ingredients. Inhabitots has instructions for making vegan and organic Peeps, using agar agar (red algae flakes) instead of the gelatin.
Or, you could make vegan marshmallows (this site has a number of recipes) and substitute them in these recipes for DIY Peeps (one has instructions for using a pastry bag to get the proper chick-shape and another suggests using cookie cutters). You can leave your creations white or color them in non-neon shades with organic food coloring.
Most commercial Easter candy comes wrapped in as much plastic packaging as electronic devices. So piping your own Peeps enables you to cut down on this and avoid adding to the amount of plastic waste from discarded Easter baskets and plastic Easter eggs.
With all this said, is it really worth it to make meat-free imitation candy? People have of course been celebrating a Peeps-free Easter for ages. Perhaps we don’t need a vegan alternative or equivalent for something, but would do as well to seek out other Easter treats not derived from animals. Here are some suggestions to have an ethical Easter. You can also make sure to avoid Easter eggs made with palm oil and even have a dairy-free, egg-free Easter egg hunt.
Easter, whether and however you celebrate it, doesn’t have to be Peeps- or treats-free, unless you’d prefer it that way.
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