I know that are several acids that can be found in the kitchen, such as citric acid and vinegar.

However, I never heard of a base that can be used in the kitchen to raise the pH levels of any food. I am well aware that this mix would probably make a salt as a result. Something like hydrogen peroxide doesn't sound safe for food. So, my question is:

What are (if any) the bases that can be used on those acids and still be human-consumable?

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    $\begingroup$ I edited your post but didn't correct the part about "a base that can be used in the kitchen to reduce the pH levels of any food" - I'm pretty sure you mean raise the pH levels. You can/should edit your question for clarity on that point. $\endgroup$ Aug 23, 2015 at 21:33
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks @ToddMinehardt, it has been a while since I last took Chemistry. Anyway, I should've checked it before posting, but thanks for the clarification. $\endgroup$
    – Mansueli
    Aug 23, 2015 at 21:36

1 Answer 1


Unfortunately Googling for "alkaline food" these days is a bad idea; results are dominated by nonsense sites espousing the "alkaline diet" nonsense / woo.

There aren't many foods that are naturally alkaline. The two exceptions I know of are:

Sometimes when I'm cooking and accidentally add too much acid (e.g. lemon juice or vinegar) to a broth or sauce, I can partially correct the mistake by adding small amounts of baking soda. This converts the excess acid to the sodium salt and $\ce{CO2}$ is evolved. For the example of vinegar (acetic acid):

$\ce{CH3COOH + NaHCO3 -> CO2(g) + CH3COONa + H2O}$

So sodium acetate salt is left behind, which limits the degree to which you can correct overaddition of acid. (You don't want your food to be too salty.)$%edit$

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    $\begingroup$ sodium acetate itself is also basic and sometimes used with food $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Aug 23, 2015 at 19:42

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