Friday, March 11, 2011

Survival Cooking - The Non-Volatile Solution

The temperature of water will quite often determine how long it takes to cook your food. Water is also one of the main ingredients used to cook many food items. It is also known as a non-volatile liquid. It is one of the main components when making a solution which can be used for cooking our food.

You need two main components (ingredients) to make a solution.  You will need a solvent and a solute. In the majority of cases, especially when cooking, water in its liquid state is the solvent (but not always) and solid substances like sugar or salt are the solute.

Salt and sugar are both what is commonly known as "non-volatile" solutes and readily dissolve in water to make a solution. In general terms, the volatility of a substance refers to how quickly it turns into a vapor (i.e., changes from a liquid to a gas). In most cases, substances with a boiling point below 212°F or 100 °C (the boiling point of water) are considered volatile and all others substances are referred to as non-volatile. Alcohol (rum, cooking sherry, beer, etc.) is an example of a volatile solute used in cooking, while sugar and salt (sodium chloride) are considered non-volatile solutes.

Essentially, when your water is boiling at a higher temperature whatever you're cooking in that water is going to cook faster. You're simply cooking at a higher temperature. This means that whatever you're cooking in the water will cook faster than it normally would. It is important to remember that the boiling point of water only increases slightly with the addition of salt to your pot of water and this is one of the reasons for adding salt to your pot of water when cooking food items such as pasta or potatoes.

The main purpose for the addition of salt continues to be to enhance the flavor of your food. If you really want it to cook faster, you'll generally need a bigger fire.

Got cooking solution?

Staying above the water line!



hippie_mama said...

I'll be honest: i really didn't know the science behind that! Thanks for explaining it simply. If only my chemistry teacher could have done the same.

riverwalker said...

To: hippie_mama

While adding salt will cause a slight elevation in the boiling point of your pot of water, the amount of salt necessary to make a significant difference would make whatever you may be cooking so salty that you wouldn't be able to eat it.

Although by no means could I be considered a chemist, I did have a couple of excellent chemistry teachers and have managed to retain a certain amount of what I learned. I now try to put that knowledge to use in more practical applications.



Related Posts with Thumbnails