Citric acid powder?

party_music50January 26, 2014

I'm thinking that citric acid powder might be perfect for adding to a bland salsa or other bland tomato dish -- especially when I don't want to add more liquid or any particular lemon/vinegar flavor. I've never used it before... is this a good idea?

Does anyone here use citric acid powder and for what purpose?

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Citric acid powder is also known as sour salt. I have some but haven't used it for the purpose you mention. It seems like an excellent idea.


    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 11:10AM
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I use it all the time. Not only for canning tomatoes, but a pinch on fresh fruit (lovely on fresh watermelon in the summer - like a Sweet-Tart), in tomato-based sauces, basically anywhere I want a "sparkle" of flavor.

Put a tablespoon in the rinse cycle of your dishwasher if you have hard water. Cuts the lime deposits and makes the glassware squeaky clean.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 11:25AM
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I use unusually large amounts of citric acid powder each year (I buy it by the 5-pound bag to cut costs), but you would probably need no more than a 4-oz. container.

I mainly use it for preventing spoilage and bacteria when sprouting seeds/grains/beans, and acidic baths for food destined for the dehydrator - once again, to prevent bacteria growth. It also helps prevent foods browning (oxidizing) during dehydrating, and adds a little vitamin C.

It adds a lemon-like flavor and brightness, and a little goes a long way.

Some other choices:

- Fruit Fresh, which is a blend of citric and ascorbic acid - with a citrus like flavor.

- True Lemon and True Lime, which is crystalized lemon and lime in a powder form (a true staple in my pantry).

- Apple Cider Vinegar Powder - but it adds sourness, not brightness associated with citrus. (see link below)


Here is a link that might be useful: - Apple Cider Vinegar Powder

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 11:28AM
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I have used a 1/2 tsp of the Citric acid powder to a batch of sour dough batter for just alittle extra sour taste.


    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 4:10PM
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One of the uses for me.

To make inverted sugar for making smoother ice cream.


    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 4:16PM
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I use it to can tomatoes and I also use it to make cheese. I'm not sure I'd use it as the only additional flavoring in something like bland salsa, as I find it's mostly sour, not really a definable taste, but I'd probably use it in addition to more seasonings.

I've also used it to clean my dishwasher, I fill the soap dispenser and run a cycle, it's sparkling clean, just like that.


    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 7:11PM
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It's widely used in the hummus and tahini-guzzling Holy Land (and the Middle East in general). Mainly in restaurants and by food manufacturers, but some people also use it instead of lemon juice when preparing their own tahini and hummus at home.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 1:23AM
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Thanks, everyone, for the info and great ideas!!!

jimster, I know I've stumbled onto references to sour salt in some old cookbooks and had no idea what it was. :p

malna, I learned long ago of squirting lemon juice onto cantelope to bring out the sweetness, so I hope I remember to try citric acid on watermelon. I definitely prefer tart to sweet. :)

grainlady, you've reminded me that I have a container of True Lemon somewhere in with my spices or pantry and I've never thought to use it. :( I checked your link to awesome place! I'll have to try that Vinegar powder -- I LOVE vinegar!

shirl, great idea on adding it to sour dough!!!

dcarch, I did some research on invert/inverted sugar... I can't believe I've never heard of it before -- or if I did my mind acted like a sieve. That is very useful information!

annie, I had read somewhere about using citric acid for cheese-making. I've never tried making cheese, but I definitely will now!

wintercat, I love hummus and make it all the time. The citric acid will be great for the times I don't have quite enough fresh lemon juice. (or I could use that True Lemon that's hiding somewhere in my pantry. lol!)

My biggest problem will be to remember to use it!!!

I should probably post to ask about several odd spices and flavorings that my sister gives me... she says she loves them, so I ask how she uses them and her answer is always the same: "I use it in everything!". She probably does! :O)

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 8:05AM
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party-music, I'd start with the "30 minute mozzarella". I have Ricki Carroll's cheesemaking book but the instructions for the mozzarella are all over the internet, with videos. It's easy and you'd be surprised how good.

I took a cheesemaking class and we made the mozzarella, then used the whey to make a bonus batch of ricotta, and the whey was then used to make oatmeal. Nothing wasted...


    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 9:48PM
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Hijack alert - dcarch (or others) I need invert sugar within the next couple weeks and was toying between ordering it or following online instrux to make it with citric acid or lemon juice. Seeng comments from people whose attemps have failed has me thinking I'll just buy it this go around. Thoughts?

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 10:54PM
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Party Music - vinegar works just as well as lemon juice. In fact I switched to vinegar (apple vinegar) years ago after too many supermarket - and vegetable market - lemons just ruined my tahini with their off taste. Vinegar is very reliable tastewise. Tahini/hummus comes out great.

Couple of years ago I had wonderful tahini at a restaurant in Haifa and asked the owner what she put in it. She said vinegar and LOADS of cumin, but this of course is only for cumin lovers.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 3:48AM
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And bath bombs. Lemon grass bath bombs.

I just made falafel this past weekend. Something was missing in the first batch...i only used half the batch saturday, so round two sunday morning i could not place what was wrong, so i doubled the cumin, ground fresh from seed, amped up the lemon, added cider vinegar, (i made asian pear and apple vinegar from my trees last fall)...and a bit of citric acid. Fresh parsley and cilantro stems ground fine in a mortar and pestle with a bit of sea salt fixed the mix. The tahini sauce was quite good but also needed that hit. Tzatziki was perfect using the little persian cukes and a whole head of roasted garlic.
Fresh lemon at the table. Lemons have been good this winter...limes not so much.
-I did have a few squirrely bitter lemons over the holidays and a very bitter celery bunch that nearly ruined a few dishes.
A blog i can't find at the moment uses the history of food and she seeks out very old cookbooks. Lemon salt is what it was often called. I have a lb bag for cheese making but put some in a salt shaker in the cabinet above my prep/chopping area. Labeled it 'lemon salt'. I never use it as a finishing 'salt', but will try it if something needs some zing. Bragg's ac vinegar is well worth the extra cost for its flavor punch.

-I'll look for my bath bomb recipe

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 6:46AM
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FOAS, it is very easy to make inverted sugar.

Cream of tartar, Vitamin C (Citric acid) or lemon juice all work.

Lots of sugar, slow cooked with some (don't remember the quantity, just don't make it too sour) acid until it looks like honey consistency.


    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 7:26AM
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I had to buy on-line, so got the Ball citric acid powder and I also ordered Auguson Farms tomato powder to try!

What a disappointment both were. :p My BF attempted to make tomato soup from the powder, but despite everything he added it just tasted like dull tomato paste. I was excited to try adding some citric acid to *brighten* the taste... I added about 1/16th tsp to a quart+ of soup, and what we got was a soup that tasted like lemony dull tomato paste. LOL!!!

Is it me? is it the brands I bought? The on-line description said the tomato powder was "made from dehydrated tomatoes". The actual package says "made from dehydrated tomato paste".

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 10:28AM
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Yes, there is a difference between brands. Some brands are spray-dried (similar process used for making powdered milk using a low temperature), and I think that method is superior to dehydrating tomatoes and grinding them into powder. You will find a difference if you purchase tomato powder from The Spice House compared to Augason Farms.

For tomato soup, find a recipe that begins with canned tomato sauce or tomato paste and make the tomato sauce or paste with the tomato powder according to the suggested ratio of water to powder, THEN proceed with the recipe. You'll find "Copy Cat Campbell's Tomato Soup" recipes on-line.

Did you add any sugar and/or baking soda to cut the tomato acid? A little oil or butter will also help cut the acidity. Was it dairy-based or water based?


    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 12:46PM
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grainlady, he made it when I wasn't watching, but I think he sauteed some minced onions & garlic in olive oil, then added the "tomato sauce" he created separately with the tomato powder and water, then he added herbs, including lots of fresh parsley. Not sure what else he did. It looked really good!!! it tasted really blah, then it tasted like lemony-blah thanks to the citric acid. It went to the compost. :( Thanks, I'll check out The Spice House.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 12:57PM
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