I bet many of us cannot do without a dash of tang to our food; be it seafood or roasted lamb, it is incomplete without a good squeeze of lemon. Even though lime has a relatively sour taste, it is consumed literally on a regular basis. What makes limes and sour fruits so irresistible? Most of the sour fruits contain varying amounts of citric acid, which makes the fruit more appealing, than those which are low in citric acid. Citric acid, as you might be acquainted, is a weak organic acid that works as a natural preservative and a popular flavor enhancer for most foods and beverages. Citric acid is one of the major compounds which deals with the production of energy in our body.
As is known to most of us, the good old lime and the humble orange are excellent sources of citric acid. Limes and lemons lead the way with the highest concentration of citric acid and if you haven’t yet noticed, you can never have either of them without puckering your face. Besides these, fruits like tangerines, kumquats, pomelos, mandarins, grapefruits and uglis are rich sources of citric acid. However, sweet lime, has comparatively lesser amounts of the acid, as it tends to be more sweet than sour.
Who would think that berries would be good sources of citric acid? But the fact remains that berries which have a slight tangy taste contain citric acid; however, the concentration of acid in these fruits is lesser as compared to the citrus fruits. Among the berries that contain acid are: strawberries, raspberries, red and black currants, cherries, gooseberries and Indian gooseberry. As the name suggests, the Indian gooseberry is produced largely in the Indian subcontinent and is available in shopping malls.
You would be surprised to find so many fruit sources of citric acid; however most of these fruits have traces of acid and not concentrated amounts. Tamarind and pineapple have relatively higher amounts of citric acid. Other than that, mangoes, star fruit, plum, grapes, varieties of peaches, pomegranate, apricots, etc., also have some amount of acid. The Asian variety of pear, which has a tangy taste, is also considered to be a citrus source.
You are reading right – vegetables also constitute as sources of citric acid. Tomatoes, known for their tangy taste, top the list of vegetables rich in citric acid. Other vegetables rich in citric acid are broccoli, varieties of carrots, varieties of cayenne peppers, artichokes, lettuce, persimmons and rhubarb. Basically, all you’ve got to remember is that anything with a sour taste is a source of acid.
Under this category you are sure to find lemonades and juices made from the fruits listed above. Besides, you will also find jams and marmalades, sauces, wine and canned food, and not to forget, soda and cola. Pickled olives and canned food have certain amounts of acid as a preservative. Wine, which is made from grapes or any other fruit, is fermented using citric acid crystals which make it a perfect source of the acid.
Isn’t it fun when you get the benefits of citric acid without having to pucker your face when eating a tangy fruit or vegetable? Kids enjoy biting into fruit candies, and as an adult, I bet even you can’t resist the taste of a tangy candy. Besides candies, you also have cheese which is a fermentation byproduct, as well as sour bread varieties like rye bread and pumpernickel bread. Other than that, you will find some amount of acid in lozenges and jellies.
Last but not the least, dry fruits like figs, prunes and raisins have a slight trace of acid. So if you are in the mood for some instant energy, turn to the jars of dry fruits and munch on some raisins or prunes. A word of caution though, go slow on citrus food if you are suffering from a heartburn, as it may have an adverse effect on your body.
The sources listed here may help your body produce energy; however, binging on too much of citrus fruits and vegetables could lead to tooth erosion. Besides, it is advisable that you check for symptoms of acid allergy, before you consume any of these fruits or vegetables. Excessive consumption of acid, especially lemons and limes can cause bones to erode, especially your knees making you wobbly in your later years. Precaution is always better than cure and you can always consume citrus foods in moderation.