Citric acid is a natural preservative commonly used to add sour or citrus flavours to different foods. The citric acid powder is used in preserving food items, making canned foods, and in the preparation of tart candies. The acidic PH of citric acid makes it a useful food preservative and helps to slow oxidation. Citric Acid has the nickname sour salt as it shares the same colour and texture as table salt.
Citric acid was discovered around the 8th century. According to historians, its discoverer was the Persian alchemist Jabir Ibn Hayyan. It would not be isolated until 1794 when a Swedish chemist named Carl Wilhelm Scheele discovered how to isolate citric acid from lemon juice. Scheele was the first to isolate a variety of acids, including tartaric acid. In 1890, the Italian citrus industry would become the basis of industrial-scale citric acid production.
In 1893, C. Wehmer discovered that penicillium mold could produce citric acid from sugar. However, microbial production of citric acid did not become industrially important until WWI disrupted Italian citrus exports.
Directions: One teaspoon (5 grams) of this white powder can be equivalent in acidity to about 1/2 cup (120 ml) of lemon juice. Here are some different ways to use Citric Acid at home:
- Dissolve 2 Tablespoons of Citric Acid into 1 Litre of warm water. Pour it into a spray bottle and use it to clean the shower, kitchen, countertops, and more!
- Just 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid (dissolved in 2 tablespoons of water) can be substituted for 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar when making fresh cheese.
- Use it to make homemade sour candies
- Add it to jams, jellies, and canned food to help with colour and flavour preserving
- Dissolve a 1/2 teaspoon of Citric Acid in 2 tablespoons of water when making homemade cheeses like ricotta or paneer to help balance the acidity without adding additional flavour
- Make a homemade all-natural all-purpose house cleaner
- Add 1 teaspoon of Citric Acid to a Barszcz recipe! While there are as many variations of Barszcz as there are many villages that make it in Eastern Europe, there's one thing that nearly every single the recipe will call for. That's citric acid added right at the end. This will not only help the beets keep their vibrant colour, but it also gives the Barszcz a little bit of tang.
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