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How to reduce the acidity in citrus juices?

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Is there a way to reduce the acidity of citrus drinks (orange juice, lemonade, grapefruit juice, etc) without sacrificing flavor and aroma?

I vaguely recall reading that adding cream of tartar helped balance pH of a dish, but I can't remember what the recipe was for. Would something like that work?

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  1. No, cream of tartar is an acid. You could add a base, like baking soda but that would change the flavor of the juice. Can't you buy the low acid versions of them? Or are you making your own?

    7 Replies
    1. re: chowser

      For making your own.

      1. re: racer x

        Buy lower acid fruit, pink instead of white grapefruit, Meyer instead of Eureka lemons, it's tough to reduce the acid chemically. Within the citrus species the acidic value will vary, depending on the cultivar and how the fruit was grown.

        Oranges have a lower acid content than lemons or limes and you can find sweet oranges; Mandarins and Valencias are low acid. Low acid content also means lower Vitamin C content.

        Baking soda will nuetralize the juice but the flavor will be flattened. I dilute citrus juice, especially grapefruit, which does a number on me, with seltzer.

        1. re: bushwickgirl

          That's the only solution I can think of, too. Or, eat it w/ bread or something that will absorb it--or even something that's a base.

          1. re: bushwickgirl

            Thanks for the suggestions.
            The pink instead of white grapefruits will work.
            I haven't liked the Meyer lemons I've had to date, though.

            I wonder how the companies that sell low-acidity products produce them.

            1. re: racer x

              Tropicana adds calcium citrate to it's low acid orange juice in order to aid the stomach in processing the acid that remains in the juice. They may start with a lower acid orange, like a Valencia, and add calcium, ascorbic acid, and other ingredients not normally found in fresh juice, vitamin D and omega-3 fish oil, yum.

              Perhaps you could dissolve a portion of a calcium citrate tab in your juice, or take a calcium supplement 15-30 minutes before drinking, if gastric upset is the issue. According to the Tropicana nutrition label, the elemental calcium content of the low acid juice contributes 10% of the RDA, which, assuming you're an adult male between the ages of 19-50, is about 100 mg per juice serving size. Calcium will neutralize acid in the stomach for about 30-60 minutes. I don't know what your reason for wanting to reduce acid in citrus is, or maybe you just want to reduce your acid intake in general.

              A calcium supplement is generally a good idea, especially if your vegan or if you're diet doesn't include sufficient amount of dairy or leafy green vegetables.

              1. re: bushwickgirl

                Excellent suggestion.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  Thanks!

      2. Baking Soda can reduce the acidity from the citrus drinks. The reason is that Baking Soda is NaHCO3. It can react with acetic acid (CH3COOH) to produce a relatively CH3COONa and H2O and CO2. H2O and CO2 have little impact to the taste and CH3COONa tastes salty, but nowhere as salty as NaCl.

        Other bases I know of will give off more off-taste or off-order, like ammonium bicarbonate.

        1. If the baking soda does alter the taste and you can handle a bit of dilution, there are ways to create tasteless alkaline water by electrolysis of water. It's the same setup used in grade school demonstrations of the decomposition of water EXCEPT that each electrode is immersed in its own container of water and the containers are connected via an osmotic membrane. The water around the negative electrode becomes alkaline. The water is often drunk as a healthy internal cleanser. It's virtually tasteless.

          7 Replies
          1. re: icecone

            I'll stick with o.j., thanks.

            1. re: bushwickgirl

              LOL! Did the technical process scare you off? LOL!

              You don't have to take my word that it's safe and may have some health benefits. Here's a page from the Mayo Clinic site about alkaline water:

              http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/alka...

              What's important is that the PH of alkaline water is higher and could balance high acid OJ. A water ionizer attaches to the kitchen faucet and can make lots of alkaline water on demand. You don't need an expensive commercial ionizer to split water though.

              One other option is to use a tiny bit of crushed calcium carbonate - the stuff TUMS is made of. Supermarkets sell fortified orange juice; it's nothing strange to mix a little in with regular OJ. TUMS (and products like it) come in an orange flavor, though that seems counterproductive because the flavor contains acid that some of the antacid must be spent to counteract.

              1. re: icecone

                You scoop a spoon of baking soda or potassium bicarbonate into water, you get alkaline water. Alkaline water is often not tastless because of the alkali metal, like Na or K.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  CK, alkaline water produced through electrolysis is more basic due to the creation of negative OH ions from electrons in the current flow:

                  2 H2O + 2e– → H2 + 2 OH–

                  Unlike the baking soda or pb, there is no added sodium or potassium.

                  Calcium carbonate reacts with citric acid to form calcium citrate, which does have a salty taste, but I don't know how it would compare with the saltiness from other antacids.

                  1. re: icecone

                    What you drew (2 H2O + 2e– → H2 + 2 OH–) is a half reaction, it is only half. You want to tell me the other half?

                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Half-rea...

                    You cannot have a bowl of negative or positive charged water.

                    When most people refer to alkaline water, they are really refering to basic solutions as you pointed out with OH-. However, there will be a counterion. What is yours?

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Sorry I didn't reply sooner. I didn't check this thread until today. The other half of the reaction is:

                      2 H2O → 4e- + O2 + 4H+

                      The + and - electrodes are in their own containers of water connected by an osmotic bridge: a permeable membrane or even a length of paper towel. The water around each electrode is charged postive or negative. After a period of time (a few minutes to a few hours), the bridge is removed or deactivated and the waters retain their charge.

                2. re: icecone

                  "LOL! Did the technical process scare you off? LOL! "

                  No, icecone, I just prefer the taste of o.j. over tasteless alkaline water.;-))

                  Maybe we should call alkaline water "taste-free water", less subjective.