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Questions tagged [food-chemistry]

For questions related to the chemistry of food.

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64 votes
3 answers
6k views

Why does pasta really boil over?

I was making pasta, and I noticed the pasta boiling over. I thought about it some more, and I realized I had no idea why this was happening. When the lid is on, the foam rises. When the lid is off, ...
Jeremy Kemball's user avatar
50 votes
7 answers
26k views

Why is the recipe of Coca Cola still a secret?

Why is the recipe for Coca-Cola still a secret? I think that given the current state of technology, it should be proficient enough to find any of the secret ingredients in Coca Cola. Any thoughts? ...
user.3898215's user avatar
46 votes
3 answers
12k views

Why does whipped cream use nitrous oxide instead of nitrogen gas?

It seems that nitrous oxide $(\ce{N2O})$ is frequently used to create whipped cream. But why can't just regular nitrogen gas $(\ce{N2})$ be used instead?
ManRow's user avatar
  • 1,546
42 votes
2 answers
12k views

What causes the "rotting fish smell"?

Rotting fish seem to give off the same (very pungent) kind of smell, regardless of the kind (salmon, seabreen, tuna, etc). What exactly is it that's responsible for this unique smell? (Though I've ...
paracetamol's user avatar
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31 votes
1 answer
13k views

Why does lemon juice reduce the "fish" odor of sea food — specifically fish?

In studying amines, I read that lemon juice is also used to wash fish because it reacts with the amines on and in the fish to convert the amines to its salt, just reducing the "fishy smell". ...
Winter Soldier's user avatar
31 votes
4 answers
10k views

Why is the Vitamin B complex, a "complex"?

I often come across the term "Vitamin B Complex" in my biology classes and innumerable times on the back of multivitamin packets, but what does the term "complex" here, even mean? I'm still in high-...
paracetamol's user avatar
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29 votes
2 answers
11k views

What substances do humans consume that are caloric but neither protein, carb, nor fat?

On the Medical Sciences StackExchange site I asked Can a calorie be neither protein, carb, nor fat? and got a very helpful answer, which was that ethanol (in alcoholic drinks) is caloric but neither ...
Nathan Wailes's user avatar
28 votes
2 answers
4k views

The importance of the cold chain in the food and the pharmaceutical industry

There are these everyday things that one should know as a scientist and especially as a chemist, but which never come to light in an academic curriculum — at least not in mine. One such thing is the ...
Sam's user avatar
  • 1,257
26 votes
4 answers
12k views

Can we fill potato chips bags with a gas other than nitrogen?

I understand that we fill potato chips bag with nitrogen to prevent oxidation. But why do we use nitrogen, instead of neon or hydrogen or something else? My first guess is that nitrogen is lighter ...
aarbee's user avatar
  • 501
25 votes
1 answer
47k views

How does adding lemon juice to sugar make better caramel?

It's a common cooking advice: if you want a somewhat softer caramel, add some lemon juice to the sugar: To help prevent the caramel from crystallizing, you can add an acid to the sugar before you ...
F'x's user avatar
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25 votes
1 answer
1k views

What causes that foul taste with combination of toothpaste and orange juice?

Ugh, I drank orange juice too soon after brushing my teeth and my mouth feels awful! What causes that foul taste with this combination of toothpaste and orange juice? Is it a reaction between the oil ...
Eliseo D'Annunzio's user avatar
23 votes
1 answer
13k views

Why does brown sugar have a strong smell but white sugar doesn't?

I noticed something while cooking and was wondering what the chemical explanation is for this. White sugar has a smell, but it's different, and much fainter than that of brown sugar. Brown sugar is ...
sqrtbottle's user avatar
23 votes
3 answers
12k views

Why does milk overflow when boiled?

I was wondering that like whenever I boil milk I just have to keep standing in front of it to make sure that I don't waste any milk but then I was wondering like Why does it even overflow ? In case of ...
Shashank's user avatar
  • 1,491
22 votes
1 answer
6k views

Could milk rust a steel teaspoon?

Recently, while cleaning a neighbour's fridge (turned off for a few weeks), I came across a cup (closed with a lid). Inside the cup was, to my olfactory horror, congealed milk, with a steel (iron) ...
user avatar
21 votes
5 answers
5k views

How would I measure the Carbon Dioxide content in Coca Cola over a period of time?

I'm sorry if this is a broad question, but I am trying to plan a simple experiment. I am wondering is there a somewhat simple way of continuously measuring $\ce{CO2}$. I already know the initial ...
Vijay Reddy's user avatar
21 votes
1 answer
4k views

Raw green onions are spicy, but heated green onions are sweet. Why is this?

Raw green onions are spicy, but heated green onions are sweet. Why is this? More specifically; what change in the raw green onion's organic chemicals makes it no longer spicy when the green onions are ...
Young Jun Lee's user avatar
21 votes
2 answers
14k views

If capsaicin is insoluble in water, what makes chilli water taste spicy?

I have always been told that the 'heat' from chillies came from capsaicin which is oil based. Recently I began wondering how environmentally friendly chilli based insecticide/repellent sprays could ...
Bella's user avatar
  • 311
20 votes
4 answers
2k views

During the development of aspartame, why was the methyl ester chosen?

One frequent argument against the safety of the synthetic sweetener aspartame is that it can be hydrolyzed, with one of the hydrolysis products being methanol, which is known to be toxic. Of course, ...
user avatar
19 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why do raisins bob up and down in carbonated water?

Yesterday I preformed a fun little experiment where I poured a glass of seltzer water into a glass, then dropped a few raisins into it. I observed that the raisins would float at the top of the glass ...
Scrump's user avatar
  • 402
18 votes
2 answers
252k views

Saturated vs unsaturated fats - Structure in relation to room temperature state?

I'm sure most of us have heard that saturated fats are solid at room temperature, and unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature. I'm wondering how this relates to their chemical structure -- ...
yelx's user avatar
  • 281
18 votes
2 answers
3k views

Why is use of calcium carbide as an artificial fruit ripening agent banned?

Fruits like mangoes can be ripened using agents like ethylene, acetylene or calcium carbide. Of these, the latter is dangerous and is banned in most countries. Wikipedia says it is because calcium ...
Ashwin's user avatar
  • 283
17 votes
1 answer
7k views

What gives fresh milk a yellow tinge?

Every now and then, when I pop over to my grandparents' house, they make sure to give me a glass (or two) full of fresh milk (or "whole milk" if you will) and then proceed to pamper me for the rest of ...
paracetamol's user avatar
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17 votes
3 answers
9k views

Why did the salt on the skin of my turkey react with the aluminum foil it was touching?

I sprinkled salt on my turkey skin and left it to dry out over night. It was covered with aluminum foil. The next morning the aluminum foil had holes ‘burnt’ in it and the turkey skin turned silver at ...
Irene's user avatar
  • 171
16 votes
1 answer
6k views

Why do green bell peppers become bitter when cooked?

Why do green bell peppers taste sweet raw, but become bitter when cooked (steamed)? What chemical process is responsible for this? I don't believe the temperatures are high enough for the Maillard ...
MWB's user avatar
  • 519
16 votes
1 answer
5k views

What was the lithium concentration in 1940's 7-Up?

I just came across this article in the New York Times, where lithium (or more correctly, lithium salts), a known anti-depressant had been added to beverages in the 1940's. They also mention that a ...
snurden's user avatar
  • 1,459
15 votes
3 answers
55k views

If caffeine is an alkaloid, why is coffee acidic?

I have just put together on my mind these two facts: caffeine is an alkaloid and brewed coffee is slightly acidic (pH = 5). My Biology teacher and my Chemistry teacher could not elaborate satisfying ...
Dela Corte's user avatar
14 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why do unboiled eggs last longer than boiled eggs?

Just like the title says, I watched this video https://youtu.be/CHMY4G9gTPA and then became intrigued.
Nick Lim's user avatar
  • 141
14 votes
1 answer
518 views

What factors promote honey's crystallisation?

Honey is a complex mixture containing, probably, more than hundred compounds. I understand that the % of those components will affect the crystallisation. However, I am wondering what factors may ...
Gonçalo Peres's user avatar
14 votes
1 answer
22k views

What makes trans fats more harmful than saturated ones?

Why are by many trans fats considered to be worse for you than fully saturated fats? I am asking specifically which of their structural features accounts for this condemnation. They won't form clumps ...
Necrophagist's user avatar
14 votes
2 answers
26k views

What is the smell of a glass of water in contact with fresh air?

When you pour water into a clean glass in a small confined room with no or little fresh air circulation, the only smells you perceive are those of the glass and the water (or the impurities from both ...
Arc's user avatar
  • 249
13 votes
3 answers
7k views

Chilling water in copper vessel

Does chilling drinking water in copper bottle result in any chemical reaction that turns it dangerous for consumption in any way? Few days back, in summer, I carried kokum juice in copper bottle. I ...
Mahesha999's user avatar
13 votes
4 answers
13k views

Sodium Bisulfate vs Sodium Bisulfite

I'm wanting to do a follow up to this Q&A on the cooking stack regarding browning avocados. I specifically want to expand my experiment to include the options in Wayfaring Stranger's Answer. ...
Jolenealaska's user avatar
12 votes
3 answers
1k views

How exactly do sulfites prevent oxidation of wine?

I know that sulfites are used in wines to prevent oxidation, but how exactly does this happen, which reactions take place and where do the products go?
Werven's user avatar
  • 129
12 votes
3 answers
4k views

Why is condensation in dyed beverages colorless?

Does food coloring somehow evaporate and turn into nothing? Or does the beverage itself being much more color intensive? I had a bottle of Gatorade, colored Lemon-Lime (and flavored as such). I ...
yuritsuki's user avatar
  • 461
12 votes
1 answer
411 views

Why does hot oil fry things, but hot water does not?

When a slice of potato is dropped into hot oil, it gets fried but the same in hot water, gets ‘cooked’. What is it about oil that gives the slice of potato the crispy feature while water only makes it ...
Swaroop Chandra's user avatar
12 votes
3 answers
51k views

Does milk drinking prevent long-term chemical poisoning?

I have heard some rumors that drinking milk prevents chemical poisoning. I have done a bit research and some sources confirm that. Corrosive Poisons The best first aid is to dilute the poison as ...
Jaroslav Kotowski's user avatar
12 votes
1 answer
249 views

Is Acrylamide carcinogenic? Why?

Recently concerned with health effects by common chemicals existent in food I've been rather busy reading article after article; and just an interesting one came around: Acrylamide (or acrylic ...
M.A.R.'s user avatar
  • 10.7k
12 votes
1 answer
2k views

What molecular features create the sensation of sweetness?

There are many compounds that taste sweet. Many of the artificial ones taste much sweeter than natural sugars (which is why they contribute little to energy intake when use as sweeteners). A range ...
matt_black's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
8k views

How do cloves break down plastic?

When my family buys powdered cloves in bulk, we put them in plastic until we get home - which takes at very most an hour. As soon as we get home, we transfer them into glass because we have had issues ...
L.B.'s user avatar
  • 653
11 votes
2 answers
2k views

What makes alcohol a good conservation product?

A common way of preserving food and organisms is immersion in alcohol. But what causes alcohol to preserve these items well?
Marijn 's user avatar
  • 515
11 votes
1 answer
590 views

Why should space whisky taste different to Earth whisky?

I recently read an article about a vial of whisky being stored on the International Space Station for 3 years, and having its taste compared to a control sample stored on Earth. What could cause this ...
JohnLBevan's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
5k views

Why does butter get soft with heat, but not ice?

Sometimes a recipe asks me to soften the butter before I use it. This can be accomplished with a few seconds in the microwave, or just by leaving it out at room temperature for a while. Ice, on the ...
Eli Rose's user avatar
  • 253
11 votes
2 answers
17k views

Why does chocolate ice cream melt faster than others?

The other day I was dipping out Neapolitan(strawberry, vanilla, & chocolate) ice cream and noticed that the chocolate ice cream tended to melt faster than that of the vanilla and strawberry. I ...
SQLSavant's user avatar
  • 213
11 votes
2 answers
5k views

Does heating potato starch destroy its resistant starch?

Resistant starch, as found in potato starch, is supposed to have health benefits. There are differing opinions on whether or not heating potato starch destroys the resistant starch in it and thereby ...
Manisha's user avatar
  • 119
10 votes
2 answers
4k views

If LPG gas burners can reach temperatures above 1700 °C, then how do HCA and PAH not develop in extreme amounts during cooking?

According to What is the temperature of heat generated from LPG gas?, the temperature of (1) LPG gas is above 1700 degree Celsius. Many of us are familiar with pan-frying meat (steak, pan-frying the ...
Mugen's user avatar
  • 219
10 votes
2 answers
1k views

Why do the physical properties of an egg shell change when the egg shell is exposed to vinegar for a week?

When an egg is kept in vinegar for one week, its hard calcium carbonate shell changes into a soft rubbery membrane. As vinegar is weak acetic acid, how does vinegar change calcium carbonate into a ...
DARYL JOSEPH.G's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
5k views

How long would it take for sucrose to undergo hydrolysis in boiling water?

I was reading the book Cocktail Codex and there was a snippet on avoiding boiling sugar and water to make simple syrup that made me a bit skeptical. Here it is: Heat also affects the molecular ...
Tomek's user avatar
  • 219
10 votes
2 answers
8k views

Why does lavender oil dissolve plastic?

A few weeks ago I decided to harvest the lavender in my garden and put it through a still to extract the essential oils. The still in question is essentially just an air cooled condenser. I collected ...
Greedo's user avatar
  • 211
10 votes
2 answers
607 views

Discrepancies between smell and taste

In my experience, most foods smell like they taste. Fragrant soaps, however, taste quite awful in comparison to their fragrances. How can some things smell and taste identical while others are so ...
ringo's user avatar
  • 24.1k
10 votes
1 answer
6k views

Why does soup turn purple when lemon juice and salt are added?

Well you have probably heard about salpeter. I don't know if it is a myth or not that it is used to reduce men's libido by adding to food especially in boarding schools and remote military campuses. ...
Curiousman's user avatar

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