Here’s a chemical condiment that we couldn’t do without – vinegar!
Vinegar is one of a useful group of chemicals called acids.
Acids taste sour because they contain bits called ‘hydrogen ions’. Of course sour tastes aren’t always nice – sometimes fruit tastes sour to tell us it’s not ready for eating.
But like the vinegar you put on your chips, sour flavours can also be tasty.
Acids are what give cheese and yoghurts their flavour. Acids are also dead handy in baking – they are part of chemical reactions which make gases that help foods like cakes to rise.
They also can react with colour molecules to change the way food looks – turning beetroot bright red, and making meat more tender by breaking down the protein molecules. That’s part of the reason why marinating meat for a barbeque makes it extra tasty!
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