Acidity in food imparts a sour (tart) taste
on the tongue that is one of the four basic flavors. The most common forms
are citrus juice, vinegar, wine and tomatoes. Acidic ingredients (yogurt
and buttermilk included) also affect the texture, color and shelf life of
foods. A bit of acid can make a pie crust more tender, stabilize whipped
egg whites, and bring a shine to copper cookware.
To make a basic acidulated water -
For each quart (4 cups) of cold water, add 4
tablespoons lemon juice. Or add a different acidic ingredient, such as 2
teaspoons vinegar or 1/2 cup of white wine.
To prevent the problem of discoloration of
low-acid foods -
Toss the cut food with lemon juice or
vinegar. This method will keep cut apples, potatoes, bananas and other
low-acid foods from turning brown. Or place the cut food in acidulated
water until needed.
Using acidity to enhance food flavors -
A bit of citrus juice or vinegar enhances
the flavors of fruits, vegetables, poultry and seafood by complementing
natural sweetness. To decrease acidity, add a sweet ingredient such as
sugar, honey or syrup. Start with a ration of 1 part sweetener to 3 parts
acidic ingredient. Increase the ratio as desired. Equal amounts give a
pleasant sweet and sour flavor.