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What is Sodium Citrate?
Sodium citrate, also commonly known as sour salt, is a crystalline salt derived from citric acid fermentation. As a derivative of citric acid, these white crystals have a salty and slightly tart taste which is often used as a flavoring agent for various beverages such as juices, soda and energy drinks.
In food production, it is used as an emulsifier, preservative and buffer. Sodium citrate is also a common ingredient in molecular gastronomy, specifically for the spherification technique. It is often added to highly acidic liquids to help neutralize them and promote gelling.
When liquids have an acidity of greater than PH5, gelification does not occur. Reduction of liquid acidity can be done by directly adding sodium citrate into the solution to be gelled. A concentration of 0.5g to 2g per liter of liquid should be dissolved before any gelling agent is added.
Amounts of sodium citrate used will depend on the desired outcome. Increased amounts will promote firmer gels, while lesser amounts will result in more fluidity. Since sodium citrate carries a salty, sour and slightly bitter taste, it should be used with the right proportions and the flavor of the dish in mind.