How to Counteract Acidity in Cooking

Sugar
Spoon in a bowl of sugar (Image: Dynamicfoto-PedroCampos/iStock/Getty Images)

Acidic cooking and baking ingredients, such as vinegar and lemon juice, give dishes a sour or tart taste. Certain fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes, release acid when they are exposed to heat. To reduce the acid in your recipes or dishes, counter it with a base or reduce the acid that is released during the cooking process.

Step 1

Dilute sauces or liquids with water or sugar to cut the acid. Use 1 cup of sugar and 64 oz. of water for every cup of lemon juice to make a simple lemonade that uses the sweetness of sugar and the neutral pH of water to offset the tart acid of the lemon juice.

Step 2

Simmer acidic vegetables, such as tomatoes, over low heat for a longer period of time to reduce their acidity. For example, simmer spaghetti sauce in a slow cooker for 6 to 8 hours rather than simmering it for an hour on the stove. It takes approximately 6 hours to reach the 209-degree simmering point in a slow cooker compared to 30 to 40 minutes on a stove.

Step 3

Mix baking soda or salt with your recipe ingredients to counter acidity. Baking soda has a pH of approximately 9, while lemon juice has a pH of approximately 3. Table salt's pH varies. Sea salt has a pH of approximately 8. Add baking soda to your bread and cake recipes to leaven the bread and counter acidity.

Things You'll Need

  • Water

  • Sugar

  • Slow cooker

  • Baking soda

Tip

An acid is a compound with a pH below 7; bases have a pH above 7. Neutral compounds have a pH of 7.

Food spoils when it's exposed to heat or oxygen. Add vinegar or sugar to fruits and vegetables to prevent rapid spoilage.

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