Thursday, November 19, 2009

Chemistry Of Cooking

A nationally recognized scientist and chef says knowing a little chemistry could help you to be a good chef. Even the best recipes sometimes do not produce good results. Cooking is all about chemistry and knowing some facts can help chefs understand why recipes go wrong.

Heating chopped red cabbage breaks down anthocyanine pigment of the cabbage changing it from an acid to alkaline and causing the color change. If you add some vinegar to increase the acidity, the cabbage will turn red again. Baking soda will change it back to blue.

If we plunge asparagus into boiling water, tiny cells on its surface pop and asparagus become much brighter green. Longer cooking however causes the plant's cell walls to shrink and releases an acid turning asparagus into an unappetizing shade of grey.

Apples and bananas give off ethylene gas. This gas can convert a nice banana into an overripe banana overnight. If you put an apple in a paper bag with an unripe avocado ethylene gas will work for you overnight. The article also explains that processing and improper practices can spoil food, as such practices expose food items to heat or oxygen.

The article can be introduced when students learn how pH scale is used to identify acids and bases. Students can bring some food samples from their kitchens (like vinegar, baking soda, milk, orange juice, oil etc.) to check how acidic or basic they are. Students can mix different amounts of baking soda to a fix amount of vinegar and check how its acidic nature changes.

1 comment:

  1. Practical use of chemistry. The cabbage tip was intriguing. I will be looking for more info like this and have subscribed to Science Daily weekly summaries. Videos helpful. Virginia