What is Acidulated Water in cooking? For culinary purposes, acidulated water is simply water with a form of acid added to it that brings the PH level of the water to below the neutral 7 value. Acid, usually citrus, vinegar, or wine, (in different ratios of course) is added to water to create an acidic solution that can be used in your kitchen for all kinds of purposes.
For instance, the acidity in the water will slow the discoloration process down for fruits and vegetables. Some times done so with maybe a little benefit of flavor imparted on to your food. Water has a neutral PH when it’s PH level is at 7. Less than 7 would categorize the water as acidic, while more than 7 would be considered more alkaline or basic. How much flavor from acidulated water is imparted on to your food would depend on how much acid you’ve used to make your water acidulated and what food you treated with the acidulated water.
Experimentation or trial and error will help you find a taste you like and a process you can get familiar with. Beef tenderized with an acid solution using a citrus bourbon marinade for grilled kebobs will not taste the same as beef marinated in red wine for Beef Bourguignon.
What can you use acidulated water for in cooking?
Acidulated water is used to prevent browning of fruits and vegetables that have had their skin removed. Acidulated water can also be used to tenderize meat while marinating among other uses (think wine and beef). Without lime juice your avocados in your guacamole would turn brown. Peel some apples or pears for a pie, and let your fruit sit a few minutes while you prepare your crust, and you’ll see the browning on the fruit happen before your eyes.
Acidulated water will not completely stop the browning process. Once you’ve removed the fruit from the acidulated water, you will have more time to work with your food. Eventually the fruit or vegetable will go brown.
What are other culinary uses of acidulated water?
Acidulated water can be used to simply clean or rinse (without soaking) fruits, vegetables, and meats. It’s important to note that this process will not kill all bacteria and this process shouldn’t be confused with pickling. With most produce its the same process. I will create a bowl of acidulated water with the juice of one lemon and a bowl full of clean water. Use the bowl as a quick DUNK rinse. That’s it. I then will put it all through a salad spinner and let the greens (or whatever) air dry before storage.
When aging meat, acidulated water is sometimes used because your looking for a specific PH level while the meat ages and a cloth soaked in acidulated water can be used to wipe down the slime that forms on the outside of the primals and sup-primals when aging.
Is lemon water and acidulated water the same?
Lemon water and acidulated water can be the same thing but not necessarily vice versa. Lemon water is definitely acidulated water (assuming the PH level is brought down below 7 with your ratio of lemon to water). However, not all acidulated water is made from just lemon water. Acidulated water can be made with vinegar, wine, limes, and food chemicals like citric acid.
I generally look for a ratio of one juiced lemon to one large glass of water (about 12-16 oz water) for my recipe for lemon water. Lemon water is sometimes used as a healthy cleanse or for detoxifying effects. Ratios I’ve seen for this are 3 tablespoons of lemon juice per quart of water. Some people, myself included, drink lemon and lime water simply because it’s refreshing. Drop a little honey in there and you have a nice refreshing lime-ade or lemonade in my opinion.
Water that has a PH level below 7 is considered acidic and can be classified as acidulated water. My general rule of thumb using vinegar is one and a half tablespoons of vinegar to one quart of water. Different types of vinegar and different types of wine may yield different PH levels so if you’re inclined to make sure you’re in a specific range, it might not be a bad idea to pick up a PH tester. These little tools take the guess work right out of it.
Are acidic water and alkaline water the same?
No they are not. Acidic water is classified as water with a PH level BELOW the neutral 7 value.. while alkaline water is classified as having a PH level ABOVE the neutral 7 value. These two types of water couldn’t be more opposite on the PH scale. For comparison, orange juice has a pH of 3.9… and black cold brew coffee has about a PH level of 5. To get an accurate PH level, you need an indicator gauge for PH level. Most cooks don’t have an indicator gauge for this so you can guess based on some common factors and starting with standard tap water.
You can expect a lemon to put you in the 3.5 range or lower but it really depends on the base PH level of the water you use. The starting level of your PH water will play a roll in how much your PH level will run up or down. Expect a lemon to drop your PH level into the acidic range but how much is determined by where you started at.
Pure water has a neutral PH of 7 and the average tap water in the U.S. tends to vary depending on where you live. Your tap water will be somewhere mid-range between 4.5 and 8.5 on the PH scale depending on where you live. Some bottled water will have the PH level on the label. Bottled alkaline water has certain processes they adhere to and those processes tend to make the water more alkaline (or basic) and are usually advertised that way.
There is no real evidence that alkaline water is better for your health than regular water. Alkaline waters will usually advertise themselves around 8-10 on the PH level. For comparison, milk is considered a high PH beverage and it comes in at about 6.8 for a PH level.