Science Questions

Sun, 15th Jan 2006

Part of the show Plant Science, Composting and Mosquito Repellents

Question

Kerry via email asked:

Why does the addition of bicarbonate of soda to the cooking of cabbage make it much softer and the colour stay much brighter?

Answer

The reason that cabbage goes a nasty brown colour when you cook it for too long is because it changes the chemical nature of the green stuff in the leaves, or the chlorophyll. If you put bicarb in there, it changes the conditions by making it more alkaline. This means that the magnesium ion that would pop out of the leaves in normal water, stays in there.

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