Making Vanillin – Three production routes & Their chemistry

Vanilla is one of the most common and popular flavours in food. Are there ice cream shops that do not sell a vanilla ice cream? There are several ways to make food taste like vanilla. You can either use pure vanilla, or you can use (artificial) vanillin. Since we’ve discussed …

What is gelatin? – Gelatin science basics

Ever made your own stock, stored it in your fridge overnight and ended up with a stock jelly instead of liquid? Ever made a wobbly sweet, soft pannacotta? You might not realize it, but despite the fact they taste and look so different, that stock jelly and pannacotta have one …

Why pistachios & pistachio ice cream are green(ish)

Ever seen and eaten a bright green pistachio ice cream which didn’t taste like pistachio at all? I surely have. Ever tried making pistachio ice cream and had it turn out brownish instead of the nice bright green ice cream? Again, I surely have. I’ve seen pistachio ice creams varying from …

Vegetable and fruit texture

Updated: 14-Dec-2016 Poached pears are soft and juicy whereas a ripe fresh pear has a nice crunch to it. Raw carrots crunch and you need a firm bite to break a bit of, but, the carrots which have been boiling in your soup for more than an hour are beautifully …

Vanilla (bean) vs (ethyl) Vanillin – Food chemistry deep dive

Making vanilla ice cream (or any other vanilla flavoured muffin/cookie/etc) always causes a dilemma. Should you use a (natural) vanilla bean, an extract or artificial vanilla (= vanillin)? One clearly is more expensive than the other, and they look different, but are they actually different? Even though there often isn’t a …

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) oxidation & orange juice

Updated: 16-Oct-2016 A few centuries ago, seamen died by the dozens on ships travelling from Europe to newly explored territories. Trips in these boats used to take weeks, if not months. Reason for a lot of these deaths: a lack of vitamin C (chemical name: ascorbic acid). The disease? Scurvy. …

Maillard reaction mechanism – hard core chemistry

(Dis)colouration of foods is a well beloved topic of food chemists. Colour pigments are highly complex, as are the reactions to form them. Browning especially, is a favorite. It’s interesting because there are various chemically completely different ways to turn something brown, with the same end-result: they’re brown (think old …