Chemistry in Kitchen: Broccoli Soup With a Twist

Article first published as Chemistry in Kitchen: Broccoli Soup With a Twist on Blogcritics.

Read my previous blog to learn the difference between baking powder and baking soda. I have listed possible other uses of baking soda, beside the commonly known one: baking. Baking soda preserves and enhances the green color of vegetables while cooking in water and also affects cellular wall structure, speeding cooking by about 25-30%.

Broccoli soup – with a twist

Broccoli soup ingredients

Broccoli soup ingredients

Ingredients for an experiment:

– 500 grams of broccoli
– 1.5 litres of water
– 3 beef stock cubes
– mashed potato powder (4 spoons)
– powdered garlic ( 2 teaspoons)
– powdered ginger (1 teaspoon)
– baking soda (half a teaspoon)


This is a chemical experiment that you will be able to eat at the end. Fill two pots with three quarters of a liter of water each and bring water to a boil. Add 1.5 beef stock cubes to each pot and wait for the cubes to dissolve completely. Now add 250 grams broccoli to each pot, add baking soda to only the left pot, and start a timer.

After five minutes take out a piece of broccoli from each of the pots. The left is broccoli cooked in beef stock with added baking soda, the right is broccoli cooked in beef stock alone. You can see that left one is greener, but also very mushy.

Broccoli after 5 minutes cooking

Broccoli after 5 minutes cooking

I used a handheld blender to puree soup in both pots, then added two spoons of mashed potato powder to each of the pots, to make it decently thick. Let’s compare the color of the two soups:

Broccoli soup

Broccoli soup

On the left is the one cooked with baking soda, on the right the one without. The difference in color is substantial. Taste-wise the left one is more potent as baking soda also enhances the tastes of ginger and garlic.

The same principle can be applied also when cooking other green vegetables, like green beans, peas, spinach, etc. I recommend soaking peas in baking soda before cooking.

A quick explanation about photos and programs: I have used a pretty old Canon D30 with an ancient lens (Canon EF 28-90) in pretty low light conditions. Photos are not edited, except for some cropping. Software used to combine the photos is good old MS Paint.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog about the effect of baking soda on cooked red vegetables.

About Sebastjan Brezovec

I see blogging as a welcome distraction from daily routine. It gives me freedom to express myself as well as motivation for some research before publishing the content.
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2 Responses to Chemistry in Kitchen: Broccoli Soup With a Twist

  1. shamtest says:

    I can’t seem to access this page from my smartphone!!!!

  2. Isn’t that a shame. Phones are not so smart aren’t they. On my cheap Nokia C6 it opens just fine. I had some troubles opening the blog on Nokia N73. It opens nice in Nokia N900 (Maemo) and it works just swell in iPhone. I wouldn’t change the phone just to read my blog unless you really really really like it. 🙂

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