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The use of baking soda

Question : I would like to know whether bicarbonate of soda ( baking soda ) is safe for use in tenderising meat.

Answer : SODIUM bicarbonate -- also known as baking soda, bicarb or carbonate of soda -- is a safe chemical used in foods of many kinds. Baking soda is a main ingredient of baking powder. It generates carbon dioxide and acts as a leavening agent for improving texture of dough and batters. Baking soda is also used as a meat tenderiser. It seals the surface, keeping the meat from drying out as it cooks. Some cooks add a little of the chemical to the water when blanching vegetables to preserve the fresh green colour. Added to the water to soak beans reduces cooking time.

Adding baking soda to any food that you are cooking will destroy the B vitamins, especially thiamine.

Some people can taste the difference between meats that have been treated with the chemical -- the taste is compromised and the meat becomes less tasty after losing the vitamin.

Alkaline water is often recommended in recipes which call for soaking dried cuttlefish. Adding alkaline water will hasten the softening process and tenderise the cuttlefish.

Alkaline water is a permitted food additive that is used in making alkaline water rice pudding and wantan noodles. Leafy vegetables, such as mustard leaves, served together with wantan noodles, maintain a bright green colour and are more tender in texture. That is because the vegetable was blanched in water that had been used to cook wantan noodles, and so contains alkaline water.

Is it safe to eat food that has alkaline water added to it regularly?

The active ingredient in alkaline water is sodium carbonate, commonly known as soda ash or washing soda. Alkaline water is commonly used to improve the texture of fresh noodles such as yellow and wantan noodles. It also helps to prolong the shelf life of the products.

Adding excessive amounts of the additive in foods can cause an astringent taste and darker yellow colouring. Prolonged soaking of cuttlefish in alkaline water may result in nutrient loss.

People with weak digestive systems may find food with added alkaline water difficult to digest. In our body, sodium carbonate and other carbonates are found in the blood stream and eventually eliminated as carbon dioxide.

 
 

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