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Acid Blend

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

We all have used acid blend when making wines to raise the total acid content to and acceptable level. Usually, acid blend is a blend of 50% tartaric acid, 25% citric acid and 25% malic acid.
Ever wonder what those acids are, what they are used for and where they come from? I did a little research and found these interesting tidbits about the acids that make up acid blend.

Malic acid

an alpha-hydroxy organic acid, is sometimes referred to as a fruit acid. This is because malic acid is found in apples and other fruits. It is also found in plants and animals, including humans. In fact, malic acid, in the form of its anion malate, is a key intermediate in the major biochemical energy-producing cycle in cells known as the citric acid or Krebs cycle located in the cells' mitochondria.

Basically, malic acid is what gives apples its' tartness

Citric acid

is a weak organic acid found in citrus fruits. It is a good, natural preservative and is also used to add an acidic (sour) taste to foods and soft drinks. In biochemistry, it is important as an intermediate in the citric acid cycle and therefore occurs in the metabolism of almost all living things. It also serves as an environmentally benign cleaning agent and acts as an antioxidant.

Citric acid exists in a variety of fruits and vegetables, but it is most concentrated in lemons and limes, where it can comprise as much as 8% of the dry weight of the fruit.

Tartaric acid

is the molecule that makes unripe grapes taste sour. It is a principal flavor element in wine. Tartaric acid is used as a flavoring agent in foods to make them taste sour. The potassium salt of tartaric acid (potassium bitartrate or potassium hydrogen tartrate) is weakly acidic, and is known as "cream of tartar". Since it is a dry acid, cream of tartar is used in baking powders (along with sodium bicarbonate) to produce carbon dioxide gas when water is added.

Wow a little cooking knowledge that I didn't know. Learn something new everyday. For a more in depth article about wine acids click here.

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