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Old 02-13-2012, 10:23 PM   #1
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What's alum used for in cooking?

I've watched old cartoons where the bird gets the cat to eat alum powder and he can't swallow the bird. I see it at store spice sections too. I've not yet read any recipe where alum was one of the ingredients.

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Old 02-13-2012, 10:31 PM   #2
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I haven't seen alum sold anywhere in years.

My grandmother used to use it to make her pickles crunchier. But I don't see any recipes that call for it anymore. I'm not sure why.
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Old 02-13-2012, 10:31 PM   #3
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Leavener, thickener, pickling agent. Useful as comedic agent in cartoons.

I don't think it has much application in modern cooking, except as an ingredient to pickling mixes. I could be wrong. I have lots of experience at being wrong.
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Old 02-13-2012, 10:36 PM   #4
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Gramma used it in her pickles. I think alum is derived from aluminum, deemed somewhat poisonous nowadays.
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Old 02-13-2012, 10:40 PM   #5
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Wikipedia article: Alum
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Old 02-13-2012, 11:25 PM   #6
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So, pickling is pretty much it, for most kitchen users of alum. OK.
The thing is, I never saw it on my local store shelves that much before, I see it now and think of 50's cartoons.


Another tidbit about alum:
"Alum was used by bakers in England during the 1800s to make bread whiter".
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Old 02-14-2012, 12:16 AM   #7
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We use it in homemade playdough.
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