Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Cream of Tartar

Cream of Tartar

Well here's another one of those food additives
that isn't anything like it's name. It's not a
cream or dairy product nor does it have anything
to do with it, and no it isn't for your fish
sticks either.

Cream of tartar is mainly used as a stabilizer in bake goods. It actually increase's the volume of egg whites for perfect meringue's and souffles. It is also used to improve texture in certain cakes and cookies. Cream of tartar creates a creamier texture in candy and frosting's too. Usually not much of this secret ingredient is needed to achieve these changes. Your recipe will indicate the amount needed in each application. Cream of Tartar is also a key ingredient in baking powder. It has a long shelf life too if kept in an air tight container. You can find this in the spice section of your local grocery store or at your favorite online spice outlet such as Basil and Things.

So where does this unique additive known as cream of tarter derive from ? Well actually it is an acidic type salt that is produced as a by product during the fermentation process of wine making. For all you chemist out there it is better known as potassium hydrogen tartrate. Tartanic acid is found in grapes and other types of tart fruits. Now without trying to sound like a science professor this is a rough explanation of how it is processed. After the wine has done it's thing and is removed from it's container, the residue left behind is collected. Then this residue goes through a filtered and purification process which then takes it's form as an odorless fine white powder. Ready to be utilized in many culinary applications.

Ok I see where you might still be hung up on the whole acid wine thing, Well that's ok because the truth is many of the foods we consume have some form of acidic or alkaline profile in there general make up. We just never really think about it because it is a food we are familiar with. So even though cream of tartar may sound rather harsh to us it really is fine for our consumption.

Oh yeah, and did I mention that cream of tarter also sidelines as a great cleaning agent too. Very Eco friendly for you and our environment. By just adding some common household ingredients with it you will be able to clean copper, brass, tile grout, fabrics and more. So whether your cooking or cleaning cream of tarter can do it all. Now that's one handy product wouldn't you say?

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