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Source for citric acid?

cookboat55 Feb 18, 2009 11:32 AM

Does anyone know where I can find citric acid in the Boston area? I thought Christina's Spices in Inman for some reason, but their phone has been temporarily disconnected. I guess a follow-up question is: what's going on at Christina's?

Thanks in advance for any help!

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  1. C. Hamster RE: cookboat55 Feb 18, 2009 11:42 AM

    I was in there a week ago Sunday and all looked well.

    1. itaunas RE: cookboat55 Feb 18, 2009 11:51 AM

      Try a homebrew store -- Modern Brewer probably, Beer & Wine Hobby in Woburn definitely carries it.

      1. ScubaSteve RE: cookboat55 Feb 18, 2009 11:58 AM

        any CVS or Walgreens will carry it but it's labeled as vitamin C. you'll need to crush the tabs or you can do as i do and give them a whirl in the spice grinder to your desired level of powdery-ness.

        2 Replies
        1. re: ScubaSteve
          yarm RE: ScubaSteve Feb 18, 2009 12:48 PM

          Vitamin C is ascorbic acid, not citric.

          1. re: yarm
            ScubaSteve RE: yarm Feb 18, 2009 01:11 PM


            are they interchangeable with regards to foodstuffs?

        2. trufflehound RE: cookboat55 Feb 18, 2009 12:57 PM

          I got it at Debra's Nat. Gourmet in W Concord. I'll bet WF has it.

          1. m
            macadamianut RE: cookboat55 Feb 18, 2009 01:10 PM

            Try sour salt sold at the Butcheries in Brookline. You can also find it in at groceries in Brookline and Newton.

            15 Replies
            1. re: macadamianut
              The Professor RE: macadamianut Feb 18, 2009 01:41 PM

              I thought sour salt was acetic acid.

              1. re: The Professor
                macadamianut RE: The Professor Feb 18, 2009 01:57 PM

                Professor, What is acetic acid ? Thanks, Macadamianut

                1. re: macadamianut
                  ScubaSteve RE: macadamianut Feb 18, 2009 01:59 PM


                2. re: The Professor
                  yarm RE: The Professor Feb 18, 2009 02:35 PM

                  I believe it's another (more folksy) name for citric acid (purified from sour fruits like lemons). Acetic acid doesn't crystallize that well (it can when chilled, but it also sublimates into gas).

                  1. re: yarm
                    Science Chick RE: yarm Feb 19, 2009 03:56 AM

                    acetic acid - vinegar ** Does not readily sublimate** sublimate is going directly from a solid to a gas (like "dry ice", solid carbon dioxide, does). Most vinegars are only ~6% acetic acid anyway.

                    citric acid - the acid found in lemon juice. Sound like the OP wants pure citric acid, usually sold as a sodium salt, sodium citrate. Not sure what they need it for..could the OP let us know??

                    ascorbic acid - vitamin c. Again, usually found in its salt form, sodium ascorbate.

                    1. re: Science Chick
                      cookboat55 RE: Science Chick Feb 19, 2009 08:31 AM

                      Wow, this is a ton of helpful information! I need citric acid because I'm making a few recipes from the Alinea cookbook, and I forgot to order it on-line a week ago. Don't suppose any of you know where I can get agar agar or glucose, do you?

                      Thanks, everyone!

                      1. re: cookboat55
                        Science Chick RE: cookboat55 Feb 19, 2009 09:08 AM

                        I've purchased agar agar from whole foods. I think it was in the Japanese section, near the kuzu. For glucose, do you need solid or liquid?

                        1. re: cookboat55
                          ChrisConcord RE: cookboat55 Feb 19, 2009 01:04 PM

                          Agar agar is also at Debra's Natural Gourmet in West Concord, I used some a few weeks ago for some soup dumplings. All their spices are sold from bulk containers so you can get as much or as little as you want.

                          1. re: cookboat55
                            kobuta RE: cookboat55 Feb 20, 2009 05:36 AM

                            Agar agar (in thin strips or sheets) are also sold in Chinese markets, if that's a more convenient location. You can hit any of the larger ones in and around Boston.

                          2. re: Science Chick
                            yarm RE: Science Chick Feb 19, 2009 11:05 AM

                            My point was that if it was a salt (dried), it was not acetic acid since it would sublimate and it is difficult to make and keep it that way.

                            1. re: yarm
                              Science Chick RE: yarm Feb 19, 2009 11:55 AM

                              I'm sorry, but I'm not understanding you......just because something is "dried" does not make it a salt. A salt form of an acid loses one or more or its hydrogen ions, which is replaced with a positively charged salt, usually sodium or potassium. Pure acetic acid (like the stuff I use in my lab....yes, I am a *real* science chick!!) has no water in it and if heated will evaporate away. Once you evaporate it, it is gone. An acetate salt, such as sodium acetate, keeps very easily at room temperature. If you wanted to sublimate it, you would have to expose it to tremendous pressure. That's why most acids, such as citrate, acetate, ascorbate, etc store quite well and are highly stable in their salt forms.

                              1. re: Science Chick
                                macadamianut RE: Science Chick Feb 20, 2009 03:40 AM

                                Very Very impressive Science Chick! I enjoyed your science lesson. Your like a woman Alton Brown!! It was very interesting, thank you.

                                1. re: macadamianut
                                  Science Chick RE: macadamianut Feb 21, 2009 04:49 AM

                                  Geek central.......

                                2. re: Science Chick
                                  yarm RE: Science Chick Feb 20, 2009 03:07 PM

                                  They call pure acetic acid glacial because if you chill it slightly (16°C, refrigerator would do), it forms crystals. No tremendous pressure is needed to form crystals. And it would not require tremendous pressures to sublimate it (assuming you scooped out the crystals, and ignoring the water the crystals would grab from the air). And it doesn't need to be heated to evaporate. Thank you for the lecture though.

                                  The dried/salt part was in reference to what the guy saw on the shelf at a store and why that wasn't acetic acid.

                                  1. re: yarm
                                    Science Chick RE: yarm Feb 21, 2009 04:50 AM

                                    Pressure is required for sublimation, not crystallization. If you warm the crystals, they will go from solid back to liquid, not from solid to a gas.

                      2. macca RE: cookboat55 Feb 19, 2009 07:14 AM

                        If you can't find it locally, try King Arthur website. They have all sorts of good stuff!


                        1. e
                          EllenMM RE: cookboat55 Feb 19, 2009 08:13 AM

                          According to Wiki, sour salt is citric acid. You might find it in supermarkets/spice aisle in areas with a significant Jewish population.

                          1. h
                            hilltowner RE: cookboat55 Feb 19, 2009 12:05 PM

                            You can order it from New England Cheesemaking Supply in Ashfield, MA.


                            1. m
                              mathteacher RE: cookboat55 Feb 19, 2009 09:38 PM

                              The Droubi Bros. Lebanese Market in Roslindale usually has it...

                              1. g
                                galka RE: cookboat55 Feb 20, 2009 01:32 PM

                                Armenian stores in Watertown carry it and I think all Russian grocery stores in Allston- Brighton and Brookline carry it too.

                                1. b
                                  bee RE: cookboat55 Feb 21, 2009 11:21 AM

                                  They have it at Shalimar (central square) and other Indian groceries.

                                  1. m
                                    macadamianut RE: cookboat55 Feb 21, 2009 11:48 AM

                                    Ok so I was just in my kitchen cooking and as I twirled my spice rack around and around I came across my bottle of sour salt. Durkee is the manufacturer. It's says sour salt, and underneath it says citric acid crystals. I thought I was right the first time.

                                    1. j
                                      joelqp RE: cookboat55 Feb 20, 2012 11:35 AM

                                      Citric Acid available from New England Cheesemaking Supply Co. in Ashfield MA website is www.cheesemaking.com

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: joelqp
                                        Madrid RE: joelqp Feb 20, 2012 02:52 PM

                                        Arax in watertown and patel brothers in waltham.

                                      2. g
                                        gracenote RE: cookboat55 Feb 20, 2012 04:49 PM

                                        I'm pretty sure I got some in the bulk foods section of Harvest Co-op in Central Square a while ago.

                                        1. d
                                          dulce de leche RE: cookboat55 Feb 20, 2012 08:12 PM

                                          I bought it a few weeks ago at the Indian store next to the Somerville Market Basket.

                                          1. Antilope RE: cookboat55 Nov 14, 2013 05:09 AM

                                            Walmart carries Ball brand Citric Acid (Sour Salt) for home canning. It comes in a 7.5 oz spice bottle with a lime green label. $2.97


                                            1. j
                                              joelqp RE: cookboat55 Nov 14, 2013 06:06 PM

                                              Also beer & winemaking supply stores.

                                              1. g
                                                grant.cook RE: cookboat55 Nov 15, 2013 07:23 PM

                                                Citric acid is at Tags in Porter Sq.

                                                1. davis_sq_pro RE: cookboat55 Nov 18, 2013 02:39 PM

                                                  Isn't this precisely the kind of thing that Amazon Prime was created for? :-)


                                                  BTW, I believe "sour salt" is usually sodium citrate, which is not the same thing. (It's salty, for one. Crystallized citric acid isn't. The salt is quite useful, however, and features heavily in various modernist recipes involving cheese.)

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: davis_sq_pro
                                                    enhF94 RE: davis_sq_pro Nov 19, 2013 04:33 AM

                                                    Yes, but since "look on the internet" is such an obvious answer, when people ask this kind of question on this board, I assume they want a local source. Nonetheless, you and I would get along on this.

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