Vinegar Causes Toughening of Vegetable Fibers

Your favorite vinegar can do more than making your vegetable sour. What is it? Find it out…

I was cooking a vegetable dish. Mom stopped me from adding vinegar. She said it should be mixed when vegetable ingredients are soft and few minutes before taking out the casserole off fire. What I was about to do would significantly lengthen the cooking process.

Here are the two quotes that support my mom’s claim.

1) Acid does slow down the cooking process, but that the cooking liquid has to be pretty acidic to have a noticeable effect. Adding a few tbsps of vinegar or tomato paste won’t interfere in any way.

2) Fibers are toughened by acids such as lemon juice, vinegar, and tomato products while alkali and heat soften fibers.

In addition, other factors may also cause toughening effect.

1) Calcium and sugar do slow down the cooking process.

2) Very hard water can cause the toughening of vegetables such as green beans. This is in connection with calcium, since hard water has it.

Our professor in meat processing subject told us. Follow what is exactly written in any meat recipe, else facing undesirable outcome is likely. You may, if you know the science behind what you are doing. Well, I can say, the same is true with vegetable recipes.  Do not add vinegar immediately if it is set on end steps, unless you want to toughen the vegetables and lengthen the cooking time.

source 1, 2, 3