How to Reduce the Acidity of a Dish

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Acidic foods and ingredients are commonplace in many recipes, so it is vital to know how to minimize the amount of acidity in your cooking, especially if you are sensitive to hyperacidic foods. Acid levels are extraordinarily high in foods such as tomatoes, citrus fruit and items containing vinegar. While very flavorful, foods with a high acid content can irritate sensitive digestive systems or issues such as ulcers, acid reflux syndrome and heart burn. Acid can also cause pain if the eater is suffering from cold sores or cuts inside his mouth. If you are severely suffering from any of these issues, avoiding acidic foods completely is the most effective plan, but there are also a few tips that will help reduce the acidity of a dish.

Things You'll Need

  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Pay attention to the ingredients that you are including in your recipes. When possible, omit or reduce the amount of acidic foods that you are incorporating into the meal. This is especially easy with citrus fruit or acidic ingredients that are used as a garnish or accent and not the major ingredient of the recipe like a tomato sauce or puree. Look for ingredients with less acid such as low-acid tomatoes at your local grocer.

  • Peel the skins from tomatoes when making a dish with this acidic fruit. Tomatoes are a mainstay in most Italian recipes, and cannot be replaced, but you can help to reduce the acid content. According to the Epicurean Table, the peel and the seeds are two major contributing influences to the acidity of the tomato, so consider blanching the tomatoes and removing the peels, as well as dicing to clean out the seeds before cooking.

  • Avoid overcooking dishes that traditionally have high levels of acid. The Epicurean Table indicates that extended cooking will break down the mass of the item being cooked and leave a more concentrated acidic liquid.

  • Add baking soda, a natural alkaline, to recipes that incorporate acidic ingredients to help minimize the presence of acid. Dr. Gourmet, a cooking website, recommends adding 1 tsp. of baking soda to a pot of tomato sauce to help mellow it out.

  • Minimize the strength of the acidic taste of a dish by seasoning with salt and sugar. These flavors pair well with acids like tomatoes and citrus and help to blend and smooth out the flavor. Seasoning does not decrease the actual acid content, so this change is only on the superficial level, and it will not help if you suffer from acid sensitivity.

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References

  • Photo Credit Vasiliki Varvaki/Photodisc/Getty Images
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