Food - Drink
You'll Probably Never Guess What Cream Of Tartar Actually Is
Cream of tartar may seem quite a mysterious ingredient, but this fine white powder is really just a byproduct of a certain drink. Cream of tartar is known scientifically as potassium bitartrate, and its foundation is tartaric acid, which is naturally produced in grapes, and further developed and extracted in winemaking.
Tartaric acid gives wine its tangy body, and as wine ages, the acid mixes with other chemicals and crystallizes into tartrate, or wine diamonds. This byproduct can be used on its own as "cream of tartar" in cooking and baking; baking powder contains potassium acid tartrate, which releases carbon dioxide and makes dough rise.
Cream of tartar also helps to prevent lumpy textures in granulated ingredients, and can serve as a substitute for lemon juice, baking powder, and buttermilk. It can even be used as a cleaning agent when mixed white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide, creating a rust-removing solution for steel and a stain remover for clothing.