Heavy Cream and Whipping Cream: What’s the Difference?

Food, Health
You shop often at your local grocery store, and you're pretty well acquainted with what they carry. Even if it threw you for a loop at first, you learned the difference between baking soda and baking powder. In time, you even learned what gefilte fish was! Your grocery list today includes cream for use in a dessert topping. You head to the dairy section and see assorted cartons of milk, half and half, light cream, and... heavy cream and whipping cream. Hmm. Which one do you buy What's the difference between them? Both Work Generally speaking, both whipping cream and heavy cream will achieve the desired result. In fact, some brands have taken to more specific labeling to better identify what they are. Some companies have chosen to say their…
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The Main Component of Super Hot Peppers is Related to Vanilla

Chemistry, Food
[caption id="attachment_24231" align="alignright" width="480"] Not hot enough for some people...[/caption] Spicy hot peppers can provide culinary delight, or gastronomical torture for those with sensitive stomachs. So what is it – from a chemistry perspective – that makes those hot peppers so hot? Hot Peppers Contain Capsaicin For simplicity’s sake, we’ll limit the scope of this article to a single hot pepper constituent: capsaicin (IUPAC chemical name, (E)-N-[(4-Hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl)methyl]-8-methylnon-6-enamide). Scientists assign capsaicin in pure form a Scoville heat value of 16,000,000. The Scoville value is subjective. Raters determine heat by means of tasting increasing dilution of pepper solutions. The jalapeño pepper, for example, possesses a Scoville rating of up to 4,000, while a habanero pepper rates at about a 250,000 on the scale. [caption id="attachment_24242" align="alignleft" width="280"] The relatively mild jalapeño pepper.[/caption]…
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The Conversion of Cane Juice to Sugar: a Chemical or Physical Change?

Chemistry, Food
[caption id="attachment_24130" align="alignright" width="480"] Harvested sugarcane.[/caption] One of our readers asks, “So, is the crystallization process of cane juice to raw sugar considered a chemical change or a physical change? Why one or the other?” Let’s discuss, starting with an explanation of what constitutes a chemical change. What is a Chemical Change? A chemical compound consists of atoms bonded together in specific fashion to form molecules. When you modify the combination of atoms, you’ve achieved a chemical change. For instance, combine sodium hydroxide with hydrochloric acid, and the result is sodium chloride (table salt) and water, according to the reaction: NaOH + HCl → NaCl + H₂O This example clearly represents a chemical change. Salt (NaCl) is edible, sodium hydroxide or lye (NaOH) is not. Water (H₂O) is safe for…
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Store-Bought Potatoes Treated with Eye-Growth Inhibitor

Food, Health
[caption id="attachment_23951" align="alignright" width="480"] Would you purchase potatoes full of eyes? Image by ostephy[/caption] Probably, you pick up a can of food to read the label. You may wish to see what the ingredients are. You are either satisfied or not, so you either put the can in your cart, or back on the shelf. Sometimes though, there is no list of ingredients. Like when you buy an apple. If the apple is very shiny, you probably suspect the apple has been waxed. But there are times when you cannot visibly determine what has been applied to a food item. Such is the case when you purchase a potato. Are you aware that after harvesting, the potatoes were given a chemical spray? After all, the potatoes may be in storage…
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Is Eating Beef Liver Bad for You? Or is That an “Old Scientist’s” Tale?

Food, Health
[caption id="attachment_23806" align="alignright" width="480"] Fried beef liver. Image courtesy of Lani Cooks, all rights reserved, used with permission.[/caption] “And in this corner…” so starts the boxing match. But, what does that have to do with liver? It illustrates people’s feelings about fried liver. They migrate to one corner or the other in a food boxing match. They love it or they hate it. What’s the chemistry of liver – and how does it impact your health? For liver to have any effect at all, you have to actually take a bite – so let’s first consider some of the typical statements people make about this food. Those people who stick up their nose at the mere mention of fried beef liver. Those Who Stick Up Their Nose You are doubtless…
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How Many Different Kinds of Water – Water Isotopes – are In Your Glass?

Food, Health
[caption id="attachment_23779" align="alignright" width="480"] Water. Just water. Image by Rollingroscoe.[/caption] The woman of the house comes out of her garden. Having worked for hours, she has a “powerful” thirst that only a glass of water can quench. She opens the freezer door, clinks a few cubes of ice into her glass, and then turns to the sink and fills the voids between the cubes with pure water from the tap. Water consists of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom – H₂O. At first thought, it would seem there should only be one kind of water. This is not accurate, however. That is so because there are isotopes of both hydrogen and oxygen. To understand what an isotope is, it is important to realize that the number of protons in…
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The Improbable Making and Chemistry of Chocolate

Chemistry, Food
[caption id="attachment_23742" align="alignright" width="480"] Cacao pods contain the makings of chocolate, but the contents must first go through a fermentation and drying process. Image by Medicaster.[/caption] Some years ago, some made the claim that genuine chocolate isn’t ‘good for you’. They made the claim that artificial chocolate made from carob beans is superior. Curiously, so-called dog chocolate was already made from carob... Thank goodness, science now concedes that chocolate is not all that bad; most of us can eat and enjoy at least some chocolate. And now that we know it’s OK to eat chocolate – and it may even be good for us – did you ever wonder: How do we make cocoa from cacao, and what is the chemistry behind this treat? Chocolate Chemistry: The Cacao Bean The…
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Do the Acids in Coffee Bother You? Chlorogenic Acid and Derivatives

Chemistry, Food
Although there are a host of organic acids found in coffee, and a variety of factors, such as brew temperature and grind size, affect these acids, the chlorogenic acids and their roasting derivatives, the caffeic and quinic acids, stand out. What are these acids, and how do they play a definitive role in the coffee we drink? Coffee Chemistry: Chlorogenic Acid Chlorogenic acid (CGA) is a combination ester and acid derived from two acids: caffeic acid and quinic acid. These two acids each contain not only an acid group, but alcohol groups as well. A carbon atom plus two oxygen atoms and a hydrogen atom makes up the carboxylic acid group – we often write this as –COOH or –CO₂H. An alcohol group consists of an oxygen and a hydrogen…
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Chocolate Ice Box Cake – My Early 1900’s Favorite

Food
Grandmother passed on her favorite cookbook to Mom. It was a lovely old volume, a brown-covered hardback more than two inches thick, with topical indents and brown-speckled page edges. The book was dated about 1905 to 1907 and it was not a first printing, so the book probably was penned during the late 1800's. As a youngster, I couldn't believe the breakfast listings. Some of them had as many as 6 courses! But times were different and work was harder. Then, too, women were considered "healthy" if they were just a mite plump! But my favorite entry in the book was Ice Box Cake. We now identify an icebox as a non-electrical refrigerator designed to hold ice (delivered by the iceman) for the purpose of preserving perishables. Lost! When Mom…
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Is Lard Public Enemy No. 1? Not in Your Sweet Life

Food, Health
[caption id="attachment_23419" align="alignright" width="369"] Copyright © 2014-2015 Renderings Natural Fats, LLC. All rights reserved.[/caption] I am 70. I recall many changes in viewpoint as to what constitutes healthful eating. Perhaps you are old enough to recall some as well. Among them were controversies concerning some of the most popular foods of the day... 1. Butter 2. Chocolate 3. Eggs 4. Organ meats 5. Lard The first three foods have once again gained acceptance, at least in moderation. The fourth item, organ meats, includes liver, kidneys, sweet breads, and heart. Misinformation helped damage their reputation. How many of us today include kidneys or 'sweet breads' in our menu? Once removed from the dinner table, children are not exposed to such foods, and are reluctant to try them later. But What About…
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