Chemistry in the Kitchen


Does all the alcohol really boil off when I cook with wine?

Not really, no. It’s common lore that when you add red wine to pasta sauce that the alcohol evaporates rather quickly. This idea is supported by the fact that alcohol has a lower boiling point than water, so it should evaporate quickly. People who actually studied this, however, have shown that even after an hour, 25% of the alcohol you added is still in the sauce. If you want a truly nonalcoholic marinara, you need to simmer for at least two and a half hours.


When improperly packaged food is put into a freezer, water can be drawn out of the food and crystalize; oxidation can also occur. It is still safe to eat the food, though it is not as appetizing.


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