A few simple chemical processes can actually make your Thanksgiving meal tastier and healthier, and even help you deal with the heartburn that often comes after stuffing yourself.
1. Brining your turkey before cooking it means the meat will be more moist and taste better.
Brining means soaking the turkey in cold salt water for several hours. During that time the process of osmosis makes the salt seep into the turkey.
Osmosis happens because a solute (the salt in this case) always wants to move from where it’s highly concentrated (the salt water) to where there’s low concentration (the turkey that originally does not have much salt). The salt will flow into the turkey until there’s an equal concentration of salt in the water and the turkey.
Infusing lots of salt into the meat means the proteins hold more moisture, keeping the turkey meat moist.
2. Cranberries are packed with antioxidants, but heating them breaks these nutrients down.
The antioxidant level in foods decreases with heating, but dried or cooked cranberries still have more antioxidants than most other foods. However, you might want to eat plain cranberries to maximise the health benefit.
3. If you are substituting seitan (a fake meat) for turkey, you can use chemistry to make it feel more turkey-like.
Seitan — sometimes called wheat meat — is a meat substitute made of gluten and is highly sensitive to pH, so when you’re making it you can vary the amount of soy sauce (an acidic ingredient) or vegetable stock (a basic ingredient). Switching up the pH can make the texture more meat-like.
4. Crushing garlic and letting it sit for a while before cooking will maximise its health benefits.
Garlic seems to help prevent heart disease. And, if you crush the garlic and let it sit for 10 minutes, it releases an enzyme that maximizes its healing power.
5. After stuffing yourself, antacids can help relieve some of the pain that comes from all the acid your stomach is producing.
When your stomach produces acid to help you digest food it can lead to heartburn. The more you eat, the more acid your stomach produces. This acid irritates the stomach lining and esophagus, causing a painful burning feeling.
Taking antacids will help relieve this heartburn because they are basic and help neutralize the acid in your stomach.
Hydrogen ions from the acid and hydrogen oxide from the base mix to form water, salt, and carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide gas is released from your body with a burp.
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