What is Acidulated Water?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 October 2019
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Acidulated water is a chemical solution that is made by mixing an acid with water. It has many cooking applications, most of which focus on retaining color. It is very easy to make this type of water at home by adding an acid such as vinegar, lime juice, lemon juice or white wine to water and shaking it to distribute the acid. The resulting acidulated water should be used relatively quickly. Most cooks mix a fresh batch for each intended use.

Prevents Browning of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Of the most useful applications for acidulated water is as a soak for fruits and vegetables to prevent browning. Fruits such as apples, avocados and pears can be dipped in the water to slow the browning process. The same can be done with many vegetables. The water will not completely stop the browning, but it will greatly slow it, keeping the fruits or vegetables looking fresh and crisp if they are to be eaten raw. In addition, the faintly tart flavor of the water can be pleasing to the palate.


When acidulated water prevents browning, it does so in two ways. Coating a fruit or vegetable in water reduces the amount of oxygen to which the cut portions are exposed. Browning is caused by oxidation, so the rate of browning will be slowed. The acid lowers the potenz hydrogen (pH) levels on the surface of the food, which also will slow the browning process. When using an acid water soak, the food should not be saturated, or it will taste soggy, and it should be patted dry before being eaten or used.

Uses in Cooking

There also are uses for this type of water in cooking. Vegetables that are cooked in acidulated water will retain their color instead of graying or browning when they are cooked. This can make cooked vegetables look much more appetizing, and the faint hint of acid will affect the flavor. This water also is used in poaching because the lower pH of the water will help the proteins in ingredients such as eggs and fish to cook thoroughly.

Uses in Drinking Water

Some people also like to drink acidulated water. The neutral flavor of ordinary water is unappealing to some people, whereas water that has a hint of acid tastes more crisp and refreshing. If a person has difficulty drinking his or her daily recommended amount of water, making up a bottle of the water might be a good idea. Lemon juice and lime juice are considered to be the best additions for making acidulated water that is intended for drinking, and a sprig of mint can make the flavor even more appetizing.


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Post 5

I never knew acidulated water was a culinary term for water with lemon. Maybe next time I am at a restaurant I will ask the wait staff for acidulated water and see if I get any blank stares.

I always ask for lemon in my water when I go out to eat. I am not the biggest fan of tap water, and I feel like the lemon makes the water more refreshing. I am also a creature of consistency. Lemon can mask almost any taste in tap water, so I can have a consistently good tasting water when I dine out.

Post 4

@parmnparsley- When poaching eggs, a couple of teaspoons of white vinegar are all you need. Bring the water to a boil, then turn down to simmer. The vinegar water should have bubbles that hold to the pan, NOT a rolling boil. Crack your eggs into a bowl, and then slowly tip the eggs from the bowl into the water.

Additionally, fresher eggs will hold a better, rounder shape. The whites in fresher eggs are usually tighter and more congealed. After about three minutes in the water, the eggs will be poached medium. Remove from the acidulated water with a slotted spoon and serve.

Post 3

This article showed me what I have been missing when trying to make poached eggs. I have tried to make poached eggs a few times, utterly failing each try. I never realized that I needed to add some type of acid to the water.

Can anyone give me a good acidulated water recipe for making poached eggs? Should I use lemon juice or white vinegar? How much acid should I add to the water?

Post 2

@Aplenty- I would not recommend adding an acid to water before storing it. Water that is treated for storage should be treated with bleach (ten drops per gallon). Lemon juice or an acid like apple cider vinegar could make your water spoil. Acidulated water is also more corrosive, so it can damage your containers that you are using to store your water. Your best bet is to stick with the FEMA recommendations when storing water for disasters.

Post 1

Should I add acid to my water if I am storing water? I live in the Midwest, so I do stockpile water in case of emergency. The storms that roll through the region can devastate an entire town, so I want to make sure my family has crucial supplies in the event of an emergency. Is acidualted tap water safer to drink than untreated tap water?

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