Cream of Tartar (potassium bitartrate, also known as potassium hydrogen tartrate) is actually a by-product of the wine making process. It collects in fermentation tanks and is later collected, purified and made into a white powder.
Cream of tartar is an acid that is in powdered form and it has many uses when cooking.
Buying and Storing
- Resist buying large amounts of cream of tartar. Unless you bake a lot, or also use it for cleaning, it will be hard to make it through a large amount before it goes stale
- Store in a cool, dark place protected from high humidity
- Cream of tartar has a shelf-life of about a year
- To test for freshness, combine 1/2 Teaspoon of cream of tartar with 1/2 Cup of warm water. Add a generous pinch of fresh baking soda. If it bubbles, your cream of tartar is still active
Uses in Cooking
- Stabilizes egg whites when whipping so that the bubbles created do not collapse. It increases the volume of the egg foam created and keeps them bright white in colour
- Stabilizing whipped cream, maintaining its texture and volume
- Preventing sugar syrups from crystallizing
- When added to water, it reducing discoloration of boiled vegetables
DIY Baking Powder
If you have run out of baking powder, or it is no longer fresh, make your own.
- Combine 1 Teaspoon of Cream of Tartar with 1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Soda