Tartaric acid is responsible for the bitter tones in wine. It is a natural acid that is present in many fruits such as peaches, bananas, apples and, of course, grapes. This component has many very interesting uses and properties for cooking and winemaking.
True wine lovers, those who are capable of doing blind tastings, recognize great wines by their acid notes. These usually accompany the rest of the flavors and balance the whole, reducing the sweetness of the fruit and the fermentation. In addition, the acidity of the wine is also one of its main characteristics and this is marked by the famous tartaric acid.
This component of the grape and other fruits is very important, since it will be the one that allows the PH of the wine to be measured. Large winegrowers around the world are able to control the amount of tartaric acid that is released during grape pressing and fermentation. In this way, it is possible to manipulate the PH and regulate the acidity of the final product , achieving sweeter, more acidic or very balanced wines.
In this sense, the sweetest wines, such as Pedro Ximénez wines, have almost no tartaric acid , so they achieve sweeter flavors and a thicker texture, due to their high sugar content, which comes from the raisining of the grape. This process evaporates the water from the fruit, leaving behind a large amount of natural sweeteners.
What uses does tartaric acid have?
This type of natural acid has other uses, beyond providing that characteristic flavor of wine. It is an element generally used in the kitchen to acidify food. Along with malic acid, it is the most widely used acid to flavor sweets , jellies, juices and other beverages such as fruit drinks.
However, it is worth mentioning that tartaric acid itself would have a very unpleasant taste, too acidic for human taste. For this reason, it is never used alone , but is combined with other sweeter elements to balance the final flavor.
But beyond offering flavor, it is also often used to make pickles , since it is an ingredient that helps preserve food. It is an element present in vinegars, which is why it has been used in preserves, submerging vegetables in a solution with an approximate pH of 4.6. This solution was traditionally achieved by mixing vinegar and water. Tartaric acid in this way prevents the formation of bacteria responsible for spoilage, so food prepared in this way is able to last for many years without spoiling.
Finally, tartaric acid mixed with bicarbonate can be used as a chemical yeast with which to make sponge cakes and other types of pastries. This combination of ingredients is also used to make soft drinks, as it creates a fizzy reaction.
What properties does tartaric acid have?
It is a weak acid, which forms a natural part of the composition of wine, it also has beneficial properties for health that were already known to humans since ancient times.
First of all, thanks to its bactericidal property, it is able to get rid of toxins from the body. By having a composition similar to that of human saliva, it increases the production of bile from the liver , thus relieving discomfort or the feeling of swelling when finishing eating, reducing burning and improving digestion.
On the other hand, despite being an acid, it is an alkalinizing substance, so the human body is capable of rapidly metabolizing it. Once inside us, tartaric acid becomes an alkaloid, so it helps balance the PH of the human body , which is usually unbalanced in periods of illness or high stress.
This element is also a great diuretic, so it facilitates the excretion of harmful elements from the body . By urinating more often, the kidneys are able to filter a greater amount of impurities and, therefore, to expel them from the body as quickly as possible. In this way, the production of enzymes is also stimulated and detoxification is stimulated, thanks to the fact that the liver works at full capacity.
On the other hand, tartaric acid is a powerful antioxidant , capable of fighting free radicals. In this sense, it prevents the symptoms of aging, such as the appearance of wrinkles and age spots. This ingredient in wine is capable of improving the appearance of the skin, since its alkaline factor combats the formation of certain bacteria that cause faster aging. This bactericidal function also allows it to be suitable for fighting diseases such as gingivitis, mouth sores and even helps fight tooth pain.
Continuing with the beneficial effects for our appearance, this weak acid also helps us lose weight. This is because, when metabolized, it creates a feeling of satiety, which prevents the temptation to overeat or snack between meals. Scientific studies have shown that diets high in alkaline ingredients help to lose weight quickly . In addition, being a diuretic, it also prevents fluid retention, which usually causes overweight.
Finally, it is a good source of energy, since it contains negatively charged ions, which are what produce the atomic reaction that converts the food we eat into energy. This stimulates the generation of energy, which could ultimately be beneficial to combat periods of depression and anxiety.