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Jul 16, 2008 11:27 PM

Help finding foods that have a "cooling sensation" (like mint)

I love that cooling sensation that comes from certain foods, but I can only think of 2 foods that have this: mint and creme fraiche. I add mint extract to a lot of my desserts. I actually don't want the mint taste, just that cooling sensation in the mouth. Can you guys think of other foods that do this?

I would also like a small science lesson as well. What causes this cooling sensation? Are there food-grade products out there that that doesn't have a taste but does leave that cool feeling in the mouth? A "cooling extract" would be my ideal product that I would love to incorporate in my food.

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  1. I would add, Watermelon. Nice, ripe chunks of chilled watermelon are very cooling.

    I have a friend whole will only eat this on hot days.

    I don't think my point of view is scientific in any way, but maybe it has to do with the degree of water in the watermelon. I can see mint being cooling, but don't get the creme fraiche, which just seems to be a dairy-based counter-to the hot.

    1. It is the menthol that causes that cooling sensation, I linked to this Wikipedia article that explains it

      1. The original comment has been removed
        1. Menthol stimulates TRPM8, which senses coolness (ie, it's a TRPM8 agonist). A study a few years ago identified some other aromatic substances, and identified 10 new ones that were shown to be agonists (at least for the mouse variant):

          The good news is that geraniol (which makes up the bulk of rose oil) and linalool (also pleasant) are among them. So you could try rose oil or fresh laurel leaves. Or try to just buy some geraniol and mix up a sugar syrup or something containing an appropriate quantity (after reading the saftey sheets, natch).

          1 Reply
          1. re: tmso

            p.s. linalool if i remember correctly is the main phenolic compound in lemons. hence lemonade being so cooling/refreshing.

            eucalyptus is also cooling in my minds eye. matter of fact, i just infused some vodka with it. most delicious

          2. Cucumbers very similar to watermelon.
            Maybe cucumber mint yogurt dip.

            1 Reply
            1. re: phantomdoc

              I find a slice of cucumber added to a glass of water is very refreshing.