You can use cream of tartar for cooking or cleaning, and it even has some surprising health benefits!
What is Cream of Tartar?
Cream of tartar is scientifically known as potassium bitartrate (or potassium hydrogen tartrate) and is derived through the process of winemaking. This ingredient is commonly used in baking applications, but can also be used as a household cleaner, similar to baking soda. This byproduct is a form of crystal that will precipitate out of grape skins and even wine itself. When used in cooking applications, however, it can stabilize whipping cream and egg whites, as well as prevent sugar crystallization in baking. This acidic salt doesn’t go bad, provided you store it in an airtight container away from sources of heat.
Aside from its culinary applications, it can also be used as a part of natural remedies, particularly as a purgative. That being said, cream of tartar is very high in potassium, so excessive consumption should be avoided.
Anecdotal evidence shows that consuming cream of tartar can help you kick your smoking habit; when combined with orange juice, this byproduct is said to make the taste of cigarettes extremely unpleasant.
Urinary Tract Infections
By changing the pH level of your urine, this substance can help to eliminate urinary tract infections by making the environment untenable for bacteria to thrive.
The anti-toxin and antibacterial nature of this substance mean that consuming just a small amount each day can help prevent the unsightly symptoms of acne.
Similar to baking soda, consuming appropriate amounts of cream of tartar is able to balance your pH levels and soothe the symptoms of heartburn.
For those who suffer from chronic inflammation in their joints, this cream byproduct can be mixed with epsom salt to make a powerful pain-relieving salt bath.
There are many uses for cream of tartar in your daily diet, including as a functional ingredient in the following:
- Snickerdoodle cookies
However, this substance also has some household uses and can be mixed with white vinegar or lemon juice to form a powerful paste that can clean various types of metal and other surfaces. When combined with hydrogen peroxide, it can help to remove rust from tools. Medicinally speaking, it can be mixed with lemon juice and epsom salt and consumed in small quantities as a purgative.
Baking Soda vs Cream of Tartar
While baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and cream of tartar (potassium bitartrate) are chemically similar and serve similar functions for health and household purposes, they are not the same thing.
The cream has more of a stabilizing effect than baking soda, and they serve two different purposes in baking. You can mix this cream with baking soda to produce a baking powder. Acid is what helps baking soda rise, and this cream byproduct serves that purposes. However, in a batter that already has an acidic element, this cream is unnecessary.
There are some side effects of consuming cream of tartar, including the risk of the following:
- Hyperkalemia: There is a very high level of potassium in this cream, which could result in hyperkalemia (excess potassium in the blood).
- Dehydration: This substance also has known purgative and diuretic properties, which could result in a loss of liquid in the body. As is well known, dehydration can have a wide range of negative side effects.