People everyday, wonder what kinds of chemicals are present in their food and how food gets it appearance, taste, and smell. The answer to that are, Food Additives, which are substances that are added to food to preserve its flavor or to enhance its taste, appearance, smell and/or other qualities. Food Additives have been around for centuries, an example of that is, preserving food by pickling.
Some may ask, “can food additives put a high risk in my diet?” Once approved by the FDA, food additives are considered fit for human consumption—but they may not be entirely safe. Some food and color additives have induced allergic reactions, while others have been linked to cancer, asthma, and birth defects. Food Additives that the FDA does regulate, come in three categories which are: 1.
“Indirect Food Additives” which are materials such as paper, plastic, cardboard, and glue that come in contact with food. 2. “Direct Food Additives” include preservatives, nutritional supplements, flavors and texturizers that are added to food. 3. “Color Additives” which are used to give preserved food its color.
How are additives approved? Well, in order to use a new additive in foods, the manufacturer has to sign a petition to the FDA to approve it. Its an average of 100 new additives that get petitions submitted to the FDA every year. In order for the petition to get approved the manufacturer has to provide reasoning evidence that is safe for human consumption and performs as intended. When an additive is approved, there are still strict regulations regarding the quantity and method used and what types of foods are used with it. The principle reasoning as to why Food Additives exist, is to give our food its taste to satisfy our tastebuds.
Since pickling is highly known for as a food additive, many people don’t know about the chemical substances that are present inside the process of turning a cucumber into a pickle. Preservatives in food additives have chemicals that prevent food from spoiling due to the growth of microorganisms like bacteria and fungi. In this experiment, the process called “pickling” is the system of converting cucumbers into pickles in a course of 3-4 days by canning. In research some of the chemical ingredients found in pickles are: Alum, Calcium Chloride, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Potassium/Sodium Benzoate, Natural Flavors, Polysorbate 80, Turmeric Oleoresin, and Yellow #5. For pickling you need the following ingredients: Cucumbers (about smaller than your hand), pickling salt, Dill, vinegar, sugar and water.
Pickling salt- is pure granulated salt (sodium chloride) and does not contain anti-caking ingredients, which turns the pickling liquid cloudy or additives like iodine which makes pickles look dark. Dill- is put inside the jar to sit for 5 days to give pickles it dill-like taste. Vinegar- plays the role of acidic nature of denatured vinegar, which means that the vinegar is what does the process of preserving. Project Structure In order to accomplish this experiment, you will need the following materials: Canning jars, pickling salt, dill, cucumbers, knife, vinegar, water, measuring cup, and a pot. Steps to pickling: 1.cut off about 16 of an inch of both ends of the cucumber, doing this cuts off some of the enzymes that lead to mushy pickles. 2.
Boil jars for 10 minutes to clean and sterilize. In order to make the brine you need to: 3. Mix together in a pot, ½ cups of vinegar, 3 cups of water, 3 tablespoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon of pickling salt, boil all these ingredients for 5 minutes. 4. Once boiling is done, let the pot stand for 2 minutes to cool down.
5.While the brine is cooling down and your cucumbers have had its ends cut off, place as many cucumbers that can fit into one jar. 6. Once cucumbers are placed in the jar, put two or three little cuts of dill on top of the cucumbers. 7. After placing the dill on top, start to pour the brine that had been cooling, into the jar only leaving about half an inch at the top. 8.
Cover the jar with saran wrap, put a covering on it and poke a tiny hole in the saran wrap.9. Put jar in a cool dark place and let it sit for about 3-4 days. 10. After the course of 3-4 days, transfer pickles into refrigerator and let it sit for 2 days to enhance its flavors.
Data# of days Day 1: Light color, no strong smellDay 2: Light green color, little to no strong smellDay 3: Darker green color on skin, starting to give off pickle smell.Day 4: Dark green color, skin is soft, and strong pickle smell.Two days of refrigerator:Day 1: Soft outer layer starting to become more hard and thick, dark green skin has started to fade and smell is still strongDay 2: Outer layer is much thicker, skin has turned a greenish-yellowish color, smell has remained the same.As the 3-4 days passed, I noticed that the cucumbers started to form a soft outer layer and the color became a very dark green color with a strong smell (mostly smelled vinegar). FINAL RESULTS Within the last full day of the experiment, the cucumber had fully turned into a pickle. The final results showed that the cucumbers outer layer went from being very soft from the first couple of days, to very thick and hard. The smell had become strong and started to smell exactly like a jar of pickles.
The color of the Cucumbers started out very dark green from being in a dark room to turning into a light greenish-yellowish color after sitting in the refrigerator for two days. In the final results after a full week of this experiment, turning the cucumbers into pickles was a complete success. The pickles ended up having a nice crunchy taste to it.
Many people find pickles to be a less dangerous food additive because the cucumber and dill in the process of making pickles contain essential vitamins and minerals, the finished product is high in sodium. This necessarily means that you have to give up Dill pickles for the rest of your life, they just shouldn’t be eaten frequently. Research states that There are various types of food additives used with different purposes. Some of them are : Food acids: which is added in order to add tartness to the flavor of foods, also acts as an antioxidants and preservatives. Example:- citric acid, lactic acid, fumaric acid, malic acid, tartaric acid, phosphoric acid (in colas), and vinegar.”Flavors: These are added in order to enhance the flavors of foods, which can be either artificial or made from natural sources.
Some of the common flavoring agents are monosodium glutamate (MSG), maltol, and disodium guanylate. It has shown that some food additives contain antioxidants which are in present in preservatives, this prevents fats and oils from being rancid in foods; Rancids are what give food an unpleasant smell and/or taste and can increase the risk of getting a tumor. Antioxidants that are present in fruits prevent them from turning brown and becoming spoiled after being cut. Background of pickles Research has shown that Pickling is one of the oldest methods of food preservation. Before the invention of modern refrigeration, pickling was the only way to preserve various foods for future consumption.
Another word that has replaced the meaning of “pickling” is canning. Today, there are many people who instead of buying fruits or vegetables, make their own and can them in jars to preserve them in their refrigerator. Pickling began as a method to preserve foods that are either exotic or seasonal and limited by nature and cultivation.Conclusion The determination of how pickles get their taste, smell, and looks is all through the processing of food. In my data, the observations have shown that adding differents amounts of ingredients to a fruit/vegetable and/or other foods, does determine the foods appearance, taste and smell. From what started out as a dark green cucumber ended in a light green, crunchy, strong smelling pickle. Pickles are not the only foods that go through a process like this, it is done with almost all vegetables and fruits.