Citric acid is an organic acid that is present in numerous fruits and vegetables. However, citrus fruits have particularly been found to contain a larger dose than most other fruits.
Citric acid can also come in powder form, which is particularly suited to commercial use. This concentrated powder is famous for its sour flavor, preservative quality, and ability to act as a pH buffer.
Nutritional Properties of Citric Acid
Artificial citric acid has zero calories and fat but also no other nutritive values. On the other hand, consuming natural citric acid from fruits and vegetables is known to have various health benefits.
Various Ways You Can Put Citric Acid To Good Use
Citric acid has many uses in food production, and here are some of our favorites:
1. To Preserve Food
This is the most common use of citric acid and it is attributed to its potent acidity which powers the rate at which oxidation occurs. In addition, the highly acidic environment provided by the citric acid prevents the growth of bacteria that typically hasten spoilage. Thus the reason why citric acid is often added to canned foods and some meat products as a preservative.
2. To Boost Flavor of Meals
A dash of citric acid can take your meal from "barely there" to "wowza" in seconds. So, it is no surprise that about 50 percent of the world’s citric acid production is used as a flavor booster in beverages. Citric acid is also commonly added to dry foods that require sourness such as seasoning salts, flavoring powders, and crunchy snacks.
3. As A Ripening Agent
Citric acid is commonly included in the list of making cheese because of its ability to quicken ripening. This is especially applied when making mozzarella.
4. Employable In Brewing
Again, the high acidity of citric acid makes it useful and this time, it's in the production of beer and wine. The acid is added during brewing to adjust the pH of solutions.
5. Used To Enhance Leavening Action Of Baking Soda
Citric acid is commonly employed by bakers in the production of cakes and cookies as it can effectively enhance the leavening action of baking soda.
6. Can Be Used To Substitute Vinegar
Citric acid can be measured and added to recipes either as an ingredient or as a replacement for other acids like lemon juice or vinegar.
7. For Homemade Tomato Paste
You can make canned tomatoes right in the comfort of your home and keep it fresh for long with the aid of citric acid. To apply, add 1/2 teaspoon of powdered citric acid can be used for every quart of tomatoes.
8. For Homemade Ricotta Or Paneer
Other popular recipes that require citric acid include in making cheese like ricotta or paneer, where it is used to create the perfect balance of acidity without adding any additional flavors. All you have to do is mix 1/2 teaspoon citric acid into 2 tablespoons of water and use to sustiitue 2 tablespoons lemon juice or vinegar.
9. Used As A Substitute For Salt
Citric acid can be used to replace salt in sour bread recipes like sourdough and rye. Typically, you won't need any more than 1 tablespoon of citric acid.
10. To Make Ice Cream
Citric acid can effectively prevent crystallization of sugar in caramels, and also keep fats from separating in homemade ice cream.
Proper Storage Methods
On a final note, here's a final tip on how to keep your citric acid long lasting. Store the citric acid in its original container and in a cool, dry place. If opened, the citric acid can last for as long as three years and if unopened, at least five years.