Thursday, January 26, 2012

Myth about cooking with alcohol

We've all been told that it's ok to serve kids rumballs, or what have you because the alcohol burns off in cooking. Well that's not entirely true. The USDA had a couple colleges (the University of Idaho, and Washington State University) study it, and what they found was there will always be some alcohol as long as their is liquid (alcohol bonds to water) how much depends on the dish, and cooking time.
  • The highest rates of retention were with alcohol added to boiling liquid and then shortly after removed from heat.  In this case, the alcohol retention rate was around 85%.
  • The second highest alcohol retention rate came when using the flaming method of cooking, which resulted in around a 75% retention level.
  • When using no heat and storing overnight, about 70% of the alcohol was retained.
  • When baked for 25 minutes with the mixture not being stirred, the retention rate was 45%.
  • When baked/simmered where the mixture is stirred, produced the following results:
    • 15 minutes 40%
    • 30 minutes 35%
    • 1 hour 25%
    • 1.5 hours 20%
    • 2 hours 10%
    • 2.5 hours 5%
    Now you can see in a cake nobody will get drunk (well maybe if they eat the whole cake), but since alcohol is a toxin (that's what makes you feel drunk) do you really want your kids eating it? A little food for thought. There are substitutes for most alcohol, apple juice, grape juice, and orange juice are all popular, and vinegar will substitute for some wines.

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