Reply to "Salt and Light Ideas and Lessons"

Originally posted by Neil MacQueen

 

Science Demonstration

 

Turning Bitter to Sweet Using Salt

 

Get a bottle of tonic water. Take a taste. The bitterness is quinine, a compound derived from bark of the cinchona tree.

 

There’s also a bit of sweetness from sugar or corn syrup added to offset the bitterness.

 

Add a bit of salt to the bottle. Take another taste. “It’s almost like sugar water,”

 

You taste a little quinine, but it’s just the change is amazing, how the salt suppresses bitterness

 

Surprisingly, salt suppresses bitterness better than sugar That is why some people sprinkle salt on grapefruit, cantaloupe and other fruit. (It’s apparently not known how salt suppresses the bitterness, whether the salt somehow disrupts the bitter receptors on the tongue or whether it’s some sort of post-processing by the brain.)

 

This idea came from a NYT cooking article.


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