Where Can I Buy Citric Acid?

Lemon Citric Acid

Where Can I Buy Citric Acid?

You can buy citric acid at local grochery stores, large chain stores, hardware stores, some craft stores and online.

You Can Buy Citric Acid Here:

  • Amazon (here)
  • Target
  • Ace Hardware
  • Walmart
  • Ebay

Do grocery stores carry citric acid?

Yes.

How Much Is Citric Acid?

  • Citric Acid, Anhydrous, Food Grade, 2.5kg is about $50.
  • Citric Acid Anhydrous, Food Grade, 500g $13.
  • General Grocery store Citric Acid Powder 4-16oz ranges $4-7.
  • Citric Acid by Its Delish, 14 oz Medium Jar $11-14.
  • Jansal Valley Citric Acid, 2 Pounds $28.
  • Ball 7.5 oz Citric Acid For Preserving Tomatoes $3.50.

What Is Citric Acid?

Lemons contain citric acid

Citric acid is naturally found in citrus fruits. Most common are lemons and limes. It’s the citric acid which gives them a sour or tart taste. It’s also a common food additive and used for cleaning agents and nutritional supplements. This acid has many uses.

Citric acid is an organic weak acid that has the chemical formula C6H8O7. In the biochemistry world, it is an intermediate in the citric acid cycle, which occurs in the metabolism of all aerobic organisms.

Citric acid was first derived from lemon juice by a Swedish researcher in 1784 ( Source). It is odor free and colorless. In the early 1900s researchers discovered that it could also be made from black mold, aks: Aspergillus niger. This mold creates citric acid when it feeds on sugar. Most citric acid today is derived from this method.

Corn can be used to make citric acid. Image by Abdulhakeem Samae

How is Citric Acid made?

Although citric acid is found in a natural state within citrus fruits, the issue is that production is expensive. Because of that, most citric acid on a product label comes from a powder made from the fermentation of sugars. As mentioned, a culture of Aspergillus niger is fed with sugar and metabolized into a liquid solution that is mixed with lime (calcium hydroxide) which then causes citrate salt to come out of the solution (precipitate). The citrate salt is then treated with sulfuric acid to make useable citric acid.

These sugars, which are used to create the citric acid, can be derived from cane sugar, corn or wheat. In North America citric acid is mostly derived from corn. In South America cane sugar is often used because of the low sugar prices, but in Europe wheat sweeteners are common.

Jarred good use citric acid. Image by Michal Jarmoluk.

For what is citric acid used?

Commonly used as a food additive for natural flavoring and a food preservative, citric acid is also used in cosmetics, some medical use and it’s a natural antioxidant commonly used in cleaning products.

  • Citric acid is added as both a flavoring and preservative to processed and packaged foods alike as well as drinks (such as sodas), canned and jarred foods. It’s also added for safety to canned and jarred foods to help prevent botulism.
  • There are medical uses for citric acid such as killing harmful bacteria and when applied to the skin it can help heal infections.
  • Antioxidants can also be derived from citric acid. They also help keep food edible over a longer period of time. For example, sprinkling lemon juice over apples or bananas can help prevent them from turning brown. Ascorbic acid, better known as Vitamin C, is also found in citric acid and is often used to help protect and preserve soft drinks and meats.
  • Cleaning products use citric acid as they contain the additive to help remove stains from spills. It is also used to remove hard water build-up on dishes and glassware.
  • Citric acid is also used as an ingredient in cosmetics and personal care products. It helps to brighten skin, minimize fine lines and lighten dark spots.

Is Citric Acid Bad?

The fact is, excessive amounts of citric acid may cause tooth enamel to dissolve over time. The Academy of General Dentistry says that foods containing concentrations of organic acid should be consumed in moderation. One recommendation is to wash the mouth after eating or drinking food and beverages containing citric acid. 

Benefits of Citric Acid

Citric acid is credited with important benefits such as protecting the brain because of its antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s also linked to improved nutrient absorption and bone health.

Some citric acid properties are beneficial in other ways such as an additive due to its antibiotic properties. In some canned foods it is used to protect against botulism (as previously mentioned).

Citric acid’s preservative powers make it a natural additive for everyday staples like ice cream, canned goods, wine, jams, applesauce, fish and shellfish. The reason is it keeps the product’s pH balanced which also helps prolong its shelf life.

Citric acid is recognized as safe for use in food by all major national and international food regulatory agencies. It is naturally present in almost all forms of life, and excess citric acid is readily metabolized and eliminated from the body.

Images by Pexels from Pixabay 

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