Bitterness is one of the essential flavors in our taste palette, and lots of bitter foods are especially healthy. However, you might find bitter tastes off-putting or have a dish that you accidentally added too much bitterness to. Don’t worry, you’re in luck! There are lots of tricks and strategies to mask or counteract bitter flavors and help you enjoy whatever meal is in front of you.
1. Balance out bitterness with some fat.
Bitter tastes are naturally disguised and made more palatable by the presence of fat. This is why adding a little milk or cream to your coffee will improve the flavour. To help mask bitter flavours, try using a cream sauce, milk, fatty cheese, olive oil, or other similar fatty ingredients.
If you want to get your children to eat more bitter vegetables such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, or cabbage, this is an excellent trick. Add some cheese or cheese sauce to their vegetables and they won’t be able to tell that they are eating something bitter.
2. Cover the flavor with sweetness.
Who doesn’t appreciate a little sweetness in their food? Consider coffee once more: there’s a reason we like to add a little sugar to our cup of joe. The sweetness naturally masks the bitterness of the flavours. Add a pinch of sugar or a teaspoon of honey to bitter foods and beverages to bring out their flavours a little more.
Combining bitter flavours with sweet flavours such as sugar or chocolate results in a distinctive dessert flavour.
Keep the sugar intake to a bare minimum! The American Heart Association recommends that you consume no more than 25-36 g of sugar per day for optimal health, so keep track of how much you consume and make sure you don’t go over that limit.
3. Sprinkle some salt over your food.
Adding a pinch of salt to anything makes it taste better, including bitter foods. Because saltiness naturally counteracts bitterness, don’t be afraid to sprinkle a pinch of salt on top of meals that are too bitter to begin with.
Using this technique when cooking bitter vegetables, such as roasted broccoli or Brussels sprouts, can be especially effective and flavorful. Add some olive oil and salt to the vegetables before cooking them to bring out new flavours.
To maintain good health, you must monitor your salt intake in the same way that you do with sugar. The recommended daily sodium intake is 2,300 mg, which is approximately 1/2 teaspoon.
4. Try a pinch of baking soda.
This may appear to be a little strange, but it actually works! Baking soda has a high alkaline pH, making it a good choice for balancing out overly bitter dishes. To see if it makes a difference, sprinkle a pinch of it into your food and thoroughly mix it in.
If you’re cooking and realise that you’ve used too much of a bitter ingredient, this is a good trick to have on standby. To fix this, add a pinch of baking soda just before you finish cooking the dish.
Make sure not to use more than a pinch or two of salt! Your food will not taste very good if you cook it for any longer than that.
5. Squeeze in some vinegar or lemon juice.
Bitterness is naturally counteracted by sour, acidic flavours such as these. Adding a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or a teaspoon of vinegar to bitter dishes can help to offset the flavour a little.
When dressing salads with bitter vegetables like kale, radishes, or arugula, you can enhance the flavour of the vegetables by using acidic or sour dressings.
If you make a mistake and accidentally add too much vinegar or lemon juice to a dish, baking soda can help to restore the flavour by neutralising the acid in the dish.
6. Add some spice to your foods.
There’s good news for spice enthusiasts! Spices can mask bitter flavours, so don’t be afraid to use them. Incorporate a few spicy peppers or powders into your cooking, or sprinkle some on your dishes for a little kick of heat.
Black pepper, in particular, contains compounds that are anti-acidic and counter bitterness.
Cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, paprika, and chilli powder are all excellent spices to have on hand.
7. Cook with herbs to cut through the bitter taste.
Herbs can help you avoid the bitterness of food by activating other taste receptors in your mouth. Cooking with basil, coriander, sage, and rosemary will result in delicious, bitter-free flavours that will leave you wanting more.
Cooking with fresh herbs, whether in a stir-fry or a roasted dish, brings a whole new level of flavour to your dishes.
You can also purchase dried herbs such as basil, ginger, and oregano to use as seasonings in your dishes. These are significantly more durable than fresh varieties.
8. Chill the food to reduce bitterness.
This is the option for you if you don’t mind eating cold food on a regular basis. Because colder foods and beverages are less bitter than hot foods and beverages, you may find iced tea or coffee to be more to your liking. To see if it makes a difference, place bitter meals in the refrigerator for a few hours before eating them.
This is a useful trick when dealing with bitter vegetables. Place them in the refrigerator for a few hours to allow them to cool down before eating them.
You could also combine this technique with other tricks, such as seasoning the meal with salt or fat before serving it.
9. Mix bitter ingredients into larger dishes.
When in doubt, simply cover the bitter tastes with something sweet. Make dishes that include a variety of ingredients and only a small amount of the bitter ones to balance them out. This should help to mask the bitter flavours while still allowing you to reap the benefits of bitter foods’ nutritional content.
Beans, carrots, corn, eggplant, lettuce, and potatoes are examples of foods that aren’t particularly bitter. Try hiding some bitter foods in a dish made with these ingredients to see how well it works.
Salads are a good candidate for this technique. You could combine bitter ingredients such as arugula with more neutral flavours such as romaine lettuce. To make the salad even more bitter-tasting, drizzle it with a lemon vinaigrette before serving.
10. Eat more bitter foods to get used to them.
You can actually teach your body what types of foods it prefers by eating them regularly. Even if you continue to consume bitter foods, your taste buds will eventually become desensitised to bitter flavours. It may not appear to be enjoyable at the time, but it can make a significant difference in the long run!
This is a good strategy because some other tricks to make bitter foods taste better, such as adding sugar or fat, aren’t the healthiest options to choose from. This would allow you to consume bitter foods without having to add additional ingredients.
Creative Commons License