Citric acid, what is it and how is it used? Citric Acid is a naturally occurring preservative used in many applications including canning, flavoring, cleaning, and even photography development. As a weak organic acid, it is commonly purchased in powder form, but is found in all citrus fruits including lemons, limes, oranges, and tangerines. While it has a variety of uses from food preservation to flavoring, it also has many other practical home uses as well.
When used in the canning process, it helps prevent the harmful form of food poisoning known as botulism. When combined with fruits or vegetables, Citric Acid helps to maintain a safe pH level inside the foods. Additionally, Citric Acid will also help to minimize discoloration or oxidization that naturally occurs over time.
Since Citric Acid is safe for human consumption and has a naturally sour taste, it is a popular ingredient in most types of candy, especially sour flavored candies. Many artificial flavorings and drinks also use it in their recipes. In moderation, the sour flavor is also used to enhance dishes by balancing sweet and salty flavors together. Acting as a flavoring substitute, many health food recipes call for the use of Citric Acid.
While Citric Acid is best known as a food preservative and flavor enhancer, it has many alternative uses. Because it is a weak organic acid, it is useful as an environmentally safe cleaning product. There are many different types of these environmentally safe cleaning products that contain various levels of Citric Acid. Some other useful tools Citric Acid can be used for are artificial enamel formation and regeneration as well as its use in photography in the chemical process of developing prints.