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Fact or Fiction: All alcohol burns off when cooking

August 30th 11:08am, 2010

083010_flambeWelcome to Fact or Fiction, a new online column in which we dive into the truth behind some well-accepted foodie wives’ tales – and reveal whether they’re fact or fiction.

All alcohol burns off when cooking

Fiction: While professionals can’t agree on whether all the alcohol truly burns off when boiling or simmering a sauce, most studies have shown that at least some alcohol remains in food after cooking. Alcohol has a lower boiling point than water, so it’s commonly assumed that the alcohol will begin to evaporate before the water does. This much is true. However, even after boiling or simmering a sauce, some alcohol can still remain – the amount, though, can differ. It all depends on how long you cook it, at what temperature and the concentration of the cooking method.

According to a 2003 study by the USDA, the amount of alcohol remaining in food after it’s cooked can range greatly – from 5 percent to 85 percent. The most affective method of removing alcohol from a sauce, according to the study, is to bake or simmer it for several hours. The least affective? Adding it to a boiling liquid, quickly flambéing it and then removing it from the heat.

By Stacy Schultz


One Response to “Fact or Fiction: All alcohol burns off when cooking”

  1. Brian Kirvin Says:
    September 30th, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    Hey I loved your blog. I found it at Google and fell in love with it. I have bookmarked it. Thank you for these nice posts.

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