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Food Science: Make a pH Neutral Drink

Are you ready to teach your kids about the building blocks of life? Excited to begin conversations about atoms and molecules? Let’s get started creating a pH neutral drink! 

Our ingredient table

We love teaching about science through cooking–if you missed it, check here for a discussion about the benefits of using this strategy. 

Materials

  • litmus paper (available online, or find instructions to make at home here)
  • blender

The following are all suggestions–just choose things you have in your kitchen. Try to have a blend of some spices, sweeteners, juices, fruits and vegetables. Without a blend you won’t be able to get the drink to be pH neutral.

  • spices like cloves, or cinnamon
  • vegetables like beets, spinach, carrots
  • sweeteners like agave nectar, honey, sugar, cocoa
  • juices like apple, carrot, pomegranate
  • fruits like kiwi, oranges, apples, bananas

Making Your pH Neutral Drink

Making these drinks will be a fun time for your family to test their senses of taste. Talk with your children, maybe even have them taste, the earthiness of bases (think tea, cocoa) and the sourness of acids (think lemon juice, vinegar). After this, let them know that you are trying to make the drink neutral, or with an equal taste of both acids and bases.

  1. Blend different types of ingredients, tasting and making changes to mixture
  2. Once you think you have a neutral taste, test it with the litmus paper. If it is around 7 and turns purple, it’s neutral!
  3. Keep trying different variations, like one without sugar, one with lots of vegetables, etc.

Science of a pH Neutral Drink



Here are some science concepts you can talk about with your families while making drinks:
  • Atoms are like very small building blocks–they work together to make bigger things. There are many different types of atoms that build a diverse array of things. There are so many tastes because everything is made from different combinations of atoms.
  • Atoms form together to make molecules, we can make lots of combinations
  • Acids and bases are a type of molecule
  • We’re trying to mix our atoms and molecules together in the drinks to make it pH neutral
  • You can change the taste of a dish if it’s too bitter or sour by changing the ingredients you put in it, since each ingredient is made from different molecules. For example, if tomato juice is too sour and acidic, you can add sugar to begin making it taste more neutral.




Resources

pH Scale (note that alkaline means base or basic)

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