One of the funniest debates people have is whether or not tomatoes are a fruit or a vegetable. It doesn't matter one way or another, but some of the dialogues I've witnessed were heated. One side says, "Of course it is a vegetable! We use it like a vegetable because it isn't very sweet." The… Continue reading Tomato: Fruit or Vegetable?
Baking soda and baking powder are in a lot of baking recipies. But why? And what is the difference between the two? Baking Soda Baking soda is the common name for sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3). This white powder leavens foods. Through a series of chemical reactions sodium bicarbonate is broken down and releases carbon dioxide (CO2).… Continue reading Baking Soda and Baking Powder
A reader asked how a food expiration date is determined. What a great question! The answer is both simple and oddly complex. Basically, we get expiration dates by storing a food and waiting to see when the quality starts to go down. That's right, just let the food sit for a long time and see… Continue reading How are food expiration dates determined?
One of my favorite assignments in college was to compile an ingredient notebook. We had to look at ingredient labels, pick out ingredients we didn't know, and find out what they were. It was amazing how much I learned from such a simple activity. In a few months I was able to identify most ingredients… Continue reading Guar Gum
Have you noticed the yogurt section in your grocery store lately? It is being taken over by Greek yogurt! In my grocery store over half of the space allotted for yogurt now has the Greek variety. So what makes Greek yogurt Greek? How is it different and why? What is Greek yogurt? Greek yogurt is… Continue reading What is Greek Yogurt?
After covering molecular structures, lipids, and proteins it is time for the sweet stuff. Carbohydrates include sugars, starches, and fiber. Plants generate simple sugars through photosythesis which they use for energy. Plants also use carbohydrates such as cellulose for their structural support, and starch to store energy as sugars in long chains. We humans use… Continue reading Macro Nutrients Part 4: Carbohydrates
We have looked at lipids and now it is time to focus on proteins. I love proteins! Although proteins are most often associated with meat, proteins are part of many other foods as well. They do so many cool things. Bromelain, found in pineapples, is a meat tenderizer. Gluten, in wheats and other grains, makes… Continue reading Macro Nutrients Part 3: Proteins
The previous post introduced the macro nutrients. This post looks at lipids, one of the macro nutrients. I'll explain what saturated, unsaturated, omega-3, and trans mean when they describe fats. Lipids are a broad group of chemical compounds that are insoluble (do not dissolve) in water. Fats, oils, waxes, phospholipids, and sterols are all lipids. This… Continue reading Macro Nutrients Part 2: Lipids (aka Fats)
Nutrients are split up into two main categories: macro nutrients and micro nutrients. Micro nutrients include vitamins and minerals. They are nutrients that your body needs in small amounts. Macro nutrients make up the bulk of your diet and provide energy. This category includes lipids, proteins, and carbohydrates. Knowing about each type of macro nutrient… Continue reading Macro Nutrients Part One: Molecular Structures
Salt has been a common food ingredient throughout history. The Greeks, Romans, Hebrews, Assyrians, Chinese, and many other civilizations used salt for both preserving food and improving its taste. Some locations evaporated sea water to harvest the salt within it. Other areas mined salt deposits left from ancient seas. Since salt is so useful and… Continue reading Salt