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Food & Cooking Chemistry

Learn about the chemistry of foods and cooking. Get information about vitamins, minerals, processes, herbs, ingredients, and other kitchen chemistry.
  1. Food Science Projects (78)

Kitchen Science Experiments
Do you want to explore science, but can't find or can't afford chemicals? Here are science experiments and projects you can do that use common kitchen chemicals.

Baking Powder Recipe
You can make baking powder yourself using other common kitchen ingredients.

Can You Drink Too Much Water?
It's important to drink plenty of fluids, but can you overdo it? Learn the truth about water intoxication and hyponatremia.

Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream
Make liquid nitrogen ice cream as a cool cryogenics or phase change demonstration or for a quick and tasty treat.

Why Does Salt Work as a Preservative?
Salt has been used as a preservative since ancient times, to protect food against bacteria, mold, and spoiling. Have you ever wondered how it works? Here's a look at why salt works as a preservative.

Tryptophan Facts
Tryptophan is an amino acid that is found in many foods, such as turkey. Here are some facts about what tryptophan is and the effects it has on your body.

Can You Drink Liquid Nitrogen?
Liquid nitrogen is used to make liquid nitrogen ice cream and for many other cool science projects, but you may be wondering if it is safe to drink. Here's the answer.

Scoville Scale
The Scoville scale is a measure of the pungency or spicy heat of chili peppers and other chemicals. Here is how the scale is determined and what it means.

Absinthe Chemistry
Absinthe has been enjoying a resurgence in popularity, as countries lift the ban on making the green wormwood and anise-flavored spirit. Learn about the history of the liqueur, why it was banned, a bit about its chemistry, how to make absinthe, and how to drink it.

Amino Acid Chirality
This is an introduction to stereoisomerism of amino acids, with Fisher projections and stereorepresentations of serine used as an example. There are links to learn more about amino acids and about chirality of other molecules.

Baking Ingredient Substitutions
Do you need to replace one ingredient with another in a recipe? This is a table of ingredient substitutions that you can make when baking.

BHA and BHT - Food Preservative Chemistry
Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) are added to many foods to prevent fat spoilage. This article describes what BHA and BHT are, what they do, and how they do it. There is a fairly lengthy list of references because there is controversy over the health effects of BHA, BHT, and other additives.

Biochemistry of Lycopene
Lycopene is the red pigment in tomatoes and several fruits. Find out more about how this antioxidant protects against cancer and heart disease.

Caffeine Chemistry
Learn about the chemical and biological properties of caffeine, the methylxanthine stimulant found in coffee and other foods.

Candy Triboluminescence
Wintergreen Lifesavers aren't the only candies that can make a spark in the dark. Take an in-depth look at the mechanism behind this special chemiluminescence caused by friction.

Christmas Chemistry - Make Peppermint Cream Wafers
Chemistry and cooking share a lot in common! You can have some Christmas chemistry fun in the lab making these peppermint cream wafer candies.

Chromatography with Candy and Coffee Filters
Analyze the dyes used in your favorite candies with paper chromatography using a coffee filter, colored candies, and a salt solution.

Does Caffeine Affect the Taste of Coffee and Cola?
Caffeine occurs naturally in coffee and is added to cola. Does caffeine have a flavor of its own or do decaf coffee and decaffeinated drinks taste different from regular coffee and cola for another reason?

Does Eating Turkey Make You Sleepy?
Find out why everyone wants to take a nap after Thanksgiving Day turkey dinner. Let's talk turkey and learn about L-tryptophan and carbohydrate metabolism.

Edible Slime
Most slime recipes are non-toxic, but there are only a few you can actually eat and none that taste as good as this one! Here's how to make edible slime.

Effect of Acids and Bases on the Browning of Apples
Perform an experiment to observe the effects of acids, bases, and water on the rate of browning of cut apples or other produce.

Food Additives
This is a list of common food additives and a description of their uses.

Food and Cooking Chemistry - Science Fair Project Ideas
These are ideas for science fair projects that involve food or cooking chemistry. Links are provided for additional science fair project help and food chemistry information.

Food Chemistry Quiz
Do you know about the chemistry of food? Test your knowledge with this fun and quick ten-question multiple choice quiz.

Fried Green Egg
Red cabbage juice contains a natural pH indicator that changes color from purple to green under basic (alkaline) conditions. You can use this reaction to make a fried green egg.

Fruit Battery
If you have fruit, a couple of nails, and wire then you can generate electricity to turn on a light bulb. Learn how to make a fruit battery. It's fun, safe, and easy.

Fruit Ripening and Ethylene Experiment
Measure the ripening of fruit from exposure to the plant hormone ethylene by testing starch levels with an iodine solution. This easy experiment can be performed on several types of fruit, such as apples, pears, and bananas.

Fruits That Ruin Jell-O
If you add certain fruits to Jell-O or other gelatin desserts, the gelatin won't set up. Here's a look at which fruits have this effect and what happens that causes them to ruin Jell-O.

Goo Recipe
Make squishy non-toxic goo that hardens in your hands when you squeeze it, but flows like a liquid when you pour it.

Grow Sugar Crystals - Make Your Own Rock Candy
Sugar crystals are also known as rock candy since the crystallized sucrose resembles rock crystals and because you can eat your finished product. You can grow clear sugar crystals with sugar and water or you can add food coloring to get colored crystals. It's simple, safe, and fun.

Honeycomb Candy Recipe
Honeycomb candy is an easy-to-make candy that has an interesting texture caused by carbon dioxide bubbles getting trapped within the candy.

How Baking Powder Works
Baking powder is used in baking to make cakes and doughs rise. The big advantage of baking powder over yeast is that it works instantly. Here's how the chemical reaction in baking powder works.

How Baking Soda Works for Baking
Baking soda helps make baked goods rise. Here's a look at the cooking chemistry behind how baking soda works.

How Do Pop Rocks Candy Work?
Find out how pop rocks candy works and whether or not it's true your stomach will explode if you wash down pop rocks with soda.

How Does Stainless Steel Remove Odors?
Have you heard about the kitchen tip in which you rub your fingers across the blade of a stainless steel knife to remove odors from onions, garlic, and fish? You have now! Learn about the chemistry behind this interesting bit of cooking magic.

BHA and BHT
Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) are added to many foods to prevent fat spoilage. This article describes what BHA and BHT are, what they do, and how they do it. There is a fairly lengthy list of references because there is controversy over the health effects of BHA, BHT, and other additives.

How Jell-O Works
Jell-O gelatin is a tasty jiggly treat that results from a bit of chemistry kitchen magic. Here's a look at what Jell-O is made from and how Jell-O works.

How Popcorn Pops
Popcorn pops because each popcorn kernel is special. Here's a look at what makes popcorn different from other seeds and how popcorn pops.

How to Grow Table Salt or Sodium Chloride Crystals
It's easy to grow your own table salt or sodium chloride crystals. All it takes is salt and boiling water. One method even yields crystals within a few hours. Here's what you need to know.

How to Make Ice Cream in a Baggie
Make a tasty treat and learn about freezing point depression, too! All you need are some basic ingredients and two ziploc baggies. It's easy, fun, and educational.

How to Make Moonshine
Moonshine is a liquor made from fermented corn. Learn about distillation, condensation, and how this alcoholic beverage is made.

How to Make Red Cabbage pH Indicator
Make your own pH indicator solution! Red cabbage juice indicator is easy to make, exhibits a wide range of colors, and can be used to make your own pH paper strips.

How To Test Baking Powder and Baking Soda for Freshness
Baking powder and baking soda lose their effectiveness over time, which can ruin your baking. Here's how to test baking powder and baking soda to make sure they are still good.

If Civilization Ended Today, Could I Still Make Beer?
If civilization ended right now, could I still make beer? Learn about how beer is brewed and what is required to make this popular alcoholic beverage.

Is It Safe to Use Kitchen Glassware for Chemistry?
Is it safe to use your kitchen glassware and utensils for chemistry experiments? Here's a look at some of the risks involved in using your dishes for chemistry.

Is Milk an Acid or a Base?
Have you ever wondered about the pH of milk and whether it is an acid or a base? Here's a look at the pH of milk.

Mentos & Diet Soda Chemical Volcano
Candies and diet soda together can make a chemical 'volcano' with an eruption several feet high. If the normal baking soda volcano is too tame for you, give this project a try.

Natural Easter Egg Dyes
These are easy instructions for making your own natural Easter egg dyes, using fruits, vegetables, and spices.

Oobleck Recipe
Learn how to make Oobleck, a type of slime that has properties of both liquids and solids.

Pineapple and Jell-O
Have you heard that adding pineapple to Jell-O or other gelatin will prevent it from gelling? It's true. The reason pineapple prevents Jell-O from setting is because of its chemistry. Learn about what is in pineapple that causes this to happen.

Potato Clock - Make a Potato Battery to Power an LED Clock
A potato can function as an electrochemical cell or battery. It's fun to use a potato to power an LED clock.

Protein and Polypeptide Structure
This article describes the four levels of protein and polypeptide structure, with examples and links for additional reading.

Rainbow in a Glass Density Demonstration
Make a rainbow in a glass using colored sugar solutions with different densities. This project is very easy and safe enough to drink.

Red Cabbage pH Paper
Learn how to make your own pH indicator test strips using red cabbage. This is a fun, safe, and easy chemistry project that you can do at home.

Rock Candy Instructions
Rock candy is candy made by crystallizing sugar. You can grow sugar crystals yourself, plus add color and flavor to make rock candy that you can eat.

Salt & Sugar Science Fair Project Ideas
Salt and sugar are two materials you probably have on hand. There are many science fair projects you can do with either of these ingredients. Here's a list of ideas to help get you started on your science fair project.

Scoville Ratings of Chemicals
The Scoville scale is used to compare the relative heat of foods, such as ginger, black pepper and hot peppers. This is a table showing the Scoville ratings of various chemicals.

Snow Ice Cream Recipes
Here is a collection of several quick and easy recipes for ice cream you can make using snow.

Sodium Versus Salt
Salt and sodium content are related, but are not the same. Learn about the difference between salt and the sodium in sodium chloride and how to calculate sodium levels in salt.

Sports Drinks - Better than Water?
Are you exercising or sweating away under a summer sun? Find out what beverage to drink to get and stay hydrated. Do you think water is best? Are sports drinks worth the money? What about a beer? Here's what you need to know.

Sugar Crystals & Rock Candy Pictures
Do you know what rock candy looks like? See rock candy and other images of sugar crystals including a micrograph of a sucrose crystal.

Theobromine Chemistry
The primary methylxanthine in chocolate is theobromine, a molecule similar to caffeine. See the structure of theobromine and read about its chemistry, effects on people and animals, and uses. There are links to chocolate history and chemical research, veterinary advice for theobromine poisoning, and related resources.

Vitamin C Determination by Iodine Titration
Use this redox-based iodometric titration to determine the amount of Vitamin C or ascorbic acid in juice and other samples.

Vodka in the Freezer
Why doesn't vodka freeze when you put it in the freezer? The answer to the question has to do with the chemical composition of vodka and a phenomenon known as freezing point depression.

What Is Carnauba Wax?
Carnauba wax is an ingredient in many foods and household products. Here's a look at what carnauba wax is made of and the properties that make it such as useful chemical.

What Is in Chewing Gum?
Learn about the ingredients in chewing gum and find out whether it's true gum stays in your stomach seven years if you swallow it.

What Is the Most Bitter Compound?
I've had some scorched coffee that I'm sure should have qualified for this award, but it turns out there's a real answer to this question of taste. Do you know what it is?

What Is the Difference Between Baking Powder & Baking Soda?
Learn about the difference between these two common cooking ingredients, the effect of substitutions, and find out how you can use baking soda to make your own baking powder.

What Is the Sweetest Compound?
Did you know there are sweeteners that are 200,000 times sweeter than table sugar? Take a look at this list to find out how your favorite sweetener rates.

Why Cut Apples Pears Bananas and Potatoes Turn Brown
Learn why apples, pears, bananas, potatoes, and other fruits and vegetables turn brown when they are cut or damaged.

Why Do Egg Yolks Turn Green?
Have you ever had a hard boiled egg that had a green yolk? Here's a look at the chemistry behind the phenomenon.

Why Do Onions Make You Cry?
Find out why you cry when you cut onions and how you can keep it from happening.

Why I Oppose Fluoridation of Public Drinking Water
Anne Helmenstine's reasons for opposing the fluoridation of public drinking water.

Wine Legs
Find out what it means when wine has wine legs or tears of wine.

Difference between Baking Soda and Baking Powder
This video explains what baking soda and baking powder are, how they are used and how baking soda and baking powder are different from each other.

Yeast & Hydrogen Peroxide Volcano
Here's how to make a safe and easy chemical volcano using two common inexpensive household ingredients.

Cream of Tartar
Cream of tartar or potassium bitartrate is a common household chemical and cooking ingredient. Here's a look at what cream of tartar is, where it comes from, and how cream of tartar is used.

Why Do You Add Salt to Boiling Water?
Why do you add salt to boiling water? There are a couple of answers to this common cooking question. Here's a look at the reason for salting water.

Food Additives - Names Starting with a Number
This is a list of common food additives having names starting with a number.

Food Additives - Names Starting with A
This is a list of common food additives having names starting with the letter A.

Food Additives - Names Starting with B
This is a list of common food additives having names starting with the letter B.

Food Additives - Names Starting with C
This is a list of common food additives having names starting with the letter C.

Food Additives - Names Starting with D
This is a list of common food additives having names starting with the letter D.

Food Additives - Names Starting with E
This is a list of common food additives having names starting with the letter E.

Food Additives - Names Starting with F
This is a list of common food additives having names starting with the letter F.

Food Additives - Names Starting with G
This is a list of common food additives having names starting with the letter G.

Food Additives - Names Starting with H
This is a list of common food additives having names starting with the letter H.

Food Additives - Names Starting with I
This is a list of common food additives having names starting with the letter I.

Food Additives - Names Starting with J
This is a list of common food additives having names starting with the letter J.

Food Additives - Names Starting with K
This is a list of common food additives having names starting with the letter K.

Food Additives - Names Starting with L
This is a list of common food additives having names starting with the letter L.

Food Additives - Names Starting with M
This is a list of common food additives having names starting with the letter M.

Food Additives - Names Starting with N
This is a list of common food additives having names starting with the letter N.

Food Additives - Names Starting with O
This is a list of common food additives having names starting with the letter O.

Food Additives - Names Starting with P
This is a list of common food additives having names starting with the letter P.

Food Additives - Names Starting with Q
This is a list of common food additives having names starting with the letter Q.

Food Additives - Names Starting with R
This is a list of common food additives having names starting with the letter R.

Food Additives - Names Starting with T
This is a list of common food additives having names starting with the letter T.

Food Additives - Names Starting with S
This is a list of common food additives having names starting with the letter S.

Food Additives - Names Starting with U
This is a list of common food additives having names starting with the letter U.

Food Additives - Names Starting with V
This is a list of common food additives having names starting with the letter V.

Food Additives - Names Starting with W
This is a list of common food additives having names starting with the letter W.

Food Additives - Names Starting with X
This is a list of common food additives having names starting with the letter X.

Food Additives - Names Starting with Y
This is a list of common food additives having names starting with the letter Y.

Food Additives - Names Starting with Z
This is a list of common food additives having names starting with the letter Z.

What Is the Boiling Point of Milk?
You may need to know the boiling point of milk for cooking or you may simply be curious. Here's a look at what the boiling point of milk is and the factors that affect it.

What Is Buttermilk? Does It Contain Butter?
You might think buttermilk contains butter, but it's really the result of a chemical reaction in any milk, including fat free milk.

What Is Gluten?
Gluten is a common allergen found in foods, yet do you know what exactly it is? Here's a look at gluten chemistry and the foods most likely to contain gluten.

10 Common Naturally Radioactive Foods
Learn about 10 common foods that are naturally radioactive and find out how much radiation you get from eating them.

How To Change Egg Yolk Color
Learn how to change the color of an egg yolk.

Why Does Mint Make Your Mouth Feel Cold?
Learn why mint makes your mouth feel cold.

Does the Taurine in Red Bull Really Come from Bull Semen?
Find out whether the taurine in Red Bull came from bull semen.

Cooking Chemistry Quiz
See how well you understand food chemistry and how cooking works with this fun multiple choice trivia quiz.

What Is the Difference Between Sucrose and Sucralose?
Sucrose and sucralose both are sweeteners, but they aren't the same. Here's a look at how sucrose and sucralose are different.

Are Sparklers Safe on Cakes?
Nothing makes a cake more festive than adding a glittering sparkler to the top, yet how safe is it, to put a firework on your food? Here's the answer.

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