62 votes

Why is the recipe of Coca Cola still a secret?

There are different angles this question can be answered: Chemical point of view: A full analysis of a totally unknown mixture is painful and extremely costly. It is always helpful to know how many ...
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58 votes
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Can we fill potato chips bags with a gas other than nitrogen?

As Nilay Ghosh said, nitrogen is cheap. Very cheap. Neon is expensive. Argon is cheaper than neon, but considerably more expensive than nitrogen. Helium is also expensive and needs to be used wisely, ...
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52 votes
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Why does pasta really boil over?

The starch forms a loosely bonded network that traps water vapor and air into a foamy mass, which expands rapidly as it heats up. Starch is made of glucose polymers (amylopectin is one of them, shown ...
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50 votes
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What causes the "rotting fish smell"?

The "fishy" odor that you're familiar with is brought about by a whole bunch of compounds, and not any single one. Then again, if we were to narrow this down a bit, we could say that simple nitrogen ...
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46 votes

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

Not mentioned yet: nitrogen is entirely non-toxic, environmentally friendly, does not contribute to global warming or ozone depletion. In very good approximation, nitrogen is just air with the oxygen ...
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42 votes
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Why does whipped cream use nitrous oxide instead of nitrogen gas?

There are two ways to efficiently make an aerosol product: Use a gas that liquifies under the pressure inside the can. For example, butane lighters. Nitrogen is one of the "fixed gases", meaning it's ...
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  • 1,169
41 votes
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Why does lemon juice reduce the "fish" odor of sea food — specifically fish?

There are 2 cases, both related to the acid-base reactions. Both are also partial reasons why so many fish recipes use lemon juice. Fish, especially sea fish, naturally contain trimethylamine-N-oxide $...
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33 votes
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Sugar solutions have a neutral pH in themselves, but it makes your body acidic. Why?

It is not proven that "sugar makes your body acidic"! Your body's pH is very tightly regulated by the body's internal systems; it is also different in different parts of the body - the stomach is ...
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30 votes
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Why does brown sugar have a strong smell but white sugar doesn't?

Sugar is made by repeatedly boiling and cooling cane syrup (or sugar beet syrup). After each cooling, the solution becomes supersaturated with respect to sucrose, causing sucrose to crystallize out ...
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30 votes
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What substances do humans consume that are caloric but neither protein, carb, nor fat?

If you go to https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:01990L0496-20081211&qid=1580028914722&from=EN you will see a fairly extensive list of caloric compounds (screenshot ...
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28 votes
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Could milk rust a steel teaspoon?

Technically, even simple water can cause rust, so nothing surprising here. However, spoilage of milk most probably produced a lot of organic acids (lactic acid and similar) which can speed up any ...
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  • 5,248
28 votes

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

According to Nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, and their mixtures as propellants, Proc. Chem. Specialties Mtrs. Assoc., June 1950, page 45, William Strobach, $\ce{CO2}$ and $\ce{N2O}$ are both suitable ...
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27 votes

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

Substances that are gaseous down to, say, -10 are finite (and not very large) number. Of these, we want: Safe against ignition (so no hydrogen or gaseous hydrocarbons) Not poisonous (phosphine, arsine,...
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26 votes
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What gives fresh milk a yellow tinge?

The main substances that cause the yellowish color of the milk are carotenoids [1]. The main carotene involved is the beta-carotene coming from the feed that cows eat. Some studies have been carried ...
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  • 8,859
26 votes

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

Avoiding cooling again after keeping it ( for non critical products ) at room temperature is mainly to prevent forgetting it was not cold all the time and that it may not last as long as expected. ...
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25 votes

Why is the recipe of Coca Cola still a secret?

With modern technology it would be a relatively straightforward process to determine all of the ingredients in Coca Cola. It would require time and money, but very doable. My guess is that companies ...
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25 votes
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Are food calorie values really integers?

They're not exact numbers. These numbers aren't exact for three reasons: Each type of carb, protein, and fat has a different caloric value. These are overall averages for each class. Even if you ...
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24 votes
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If caffeine is an alkaloid, why is coffee acidic?

Coffee contains hundreds, if not thousands, of other compounds in addition to caffeine. Included among these other compounds are many acids. Many small, organic acids such as citric, malic, lactic, ...
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24 votes
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Is there a difference between NaCl or table salt (processed) and salt from the Himalayas?

No salt will be pure NaCl. Each will have some degree of other elements. The fact that the salt isn't white confirms there are other elements present. See Analysis of Gourmet Salts for the ...
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24 votes
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How would I measure the Carbon Dioxide content in Coca Cola over a period of time?

Measure the change in mass over time of the remaining liquid. Though some water will also evaporate, you can control for that by keeping the humidity near 100%. If you have to be precise, collect the ...
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22 votes
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Why do raisins bob up and down in carbonated water?

The raisin has nucleation sites on it that allow bubbles of $\ce{CO2}$ to form. The raisin is light enough to be lifted by the bubbles as they push their way to the surface. As the bubbles are ...
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22 votes

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

You got me curious, so I poked around a bit on this. First there is insoluble and then there is insoluble. The Wikipedia article on capsaicin lists its solubility as $\pu{0.0013 g}/\pu{100 mL}$ ...
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21 votes

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

If you don't mind, I'll start with a more colloquial and hopfully not to lengthy explanation: Precious metals, such gold, do not corrode under "household conditions", others, such as iron or ...
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21 votes

Chilling water in copper vessel

Do not do it !! ( putting acidic, or rather any juice to copper bottles ) You are in danger of copper poisoning. Generally, by food processing laws, copper is not allowed to be in direct contact ...
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21 votes
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The importance of the cold chain in the food and the pharmaceutical industry

Answer here from a quality manager in the pharmaceutical field in Europe. Pharmaceutical companies are obliged to perform stability tests for their products according to the relevant pharmaceutical (...
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21 votes
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Why do green bell peppers become bitter when cooked?

Thousands of different chemicals, previously spatial separated, are mixed together after thermal death of cells, and kept at high temperature to react well. Final taste will depend on original system, ...
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20 votes
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How long would it take for sucrose to undergo hydrolysis in boiling water?

This is a nice well-defined question, and luckily there is excellent data for which we can provide a quantitative answer. Richard Wolfenden's research group has sought for many years to characterize ...
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19 votes

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

It doesn't make calcium carbonate rubbery, it removes the calcium carbonate. Egg shells are not purely calcium carbonate they are more like a composite with a continuous matrix of calcium carbonate ...
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19 votes
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If LPG gas burners can reach temperatures above 1700 °C, then how do HCA and PAH not develop in extreme amounts during cooking?

It is the temperature of the pan that matters not the flame The flame temperature is irrelevant if you are cooking in a vessel. the only temperature you need to worry about is the temperature of the ...
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18 votes
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What causes that foul taste with combination of toothpaste and orange juice?

Why do juice taste awful? Awful taste is due to sodium laureth sulfate, also known as sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES), or sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)- depending on which toothpaste you use. SLES ...
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