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What Is Alum Used For In Cooking? Interesting Facts to Know!

What Is Alum Used For In Cooking? If you are confused about the term ‘Alum’, that is totally okay. Hearing a term so alien can make you wonder about its culinary use. Well, don’t worry. I got you!

The fear always rises from the unknown. Let’s first see what ‘alum’ actually means.

It refers to ‘Potassium Alum’, which is composed of crystals sometimes. It can be found as small rigid blocks. However, in stores, it is mostly sold in powder form. It is also soluble in water and has a sweet and acidic taste. It is comprised of oxygen, aluminum, hydrogen, potassium, and sulfur. 

Now you know a little bit about what ‘Alum’ refers to. It has different uses also, which we will go through together to understand. 

Since Alum is edible, it has many culinary uses. However, in cooking, it plays a unique role. 

But the main question is…

What Is Alum Used For In Cooking?

Alum is a food additive that works best in pickling or canning. Alum is also present in baking powder. Hence it works as a leavening agent as well. Additionally, it is also used to make the pickles crisp. 

What Is Alum Used For In Cooking?
What Is Alum Used For In Cooking?

Although Alum was used for many other purposes throughout history, its use in food is pretty recent. Let’s find out more!

Other Culinary Uses of Alum

Besides being used for pickling and canning, Alum has a wide range of other uses as well. 

For instance, it is used for purifying water. It makes the solid impurities sit at the base of the water, which makes it easier to remove the clump of impurities at the bottom. 

It can be utilized to make khoya or milk cake. Simply mix milk, sugar, and alum and cook them together until the mixture thickens and transforms into khoya.

Besides, Alum also helps crisp pickles, fruits, and vegetables. It adds and preserves that extra crunch we all need to feel healthy.

Alum can be used to purify water and make fruits and vegetables crispy. It is also used for pickling and canning.
Alum can be used to purify water and make fruits and vegetables crispy. It is also used for pickling and canning.

Health Benefits of Alum

Did you know that Alum is also used to help one out with inducing vomit? Well, it is! It can act as an emetic and can be used in helping to induce vomiting in someone who has consumed something toxic.

Do you know those vicious muscle cramps and spasms? The ones that ruin your whole day? Yeah, those!

Well, luckily, Alum powder helps in making those cruel cramps disappear, too.

It also has antiseptic and astringent properties. These properties help in slowing down nosebleeds, bleeding from minor cuts, etc.

It is also applied to cuts to protect them from infections (Usually applied in powdered or crystal form).

Additionally, if you have ulcers, first and foremost, you must see a specialist. But let me share a home remedy with you. You can use Alum in its powdered form to get rid of ulcers.

Last but not least, on my list of ‘health benefits of Alum’, is its ability to increase the body’s response to immunogens.

Alum has antiseptic and astringent properties and in powdered or crystal form, can be applied to minor cuts to control bleeding.
Alum has antiseptic and astringent properties and in powdered or crystal form, can be applied to minor cuts to control bleeding.

When Do You Need to Be Careful About Alum?

Because of the shortage of research, it is not yet identified if Alum intake or usage is suitable for kids and pregnant women. So it is essential not to consume any if not prescribed by a professional. 

In addition, it is also to be noted that the research is not done on how Alum will react with other medicines one might be taking. So, it is essential always to consult a professional.

Use of Alum in Cosmetics

We have come across a wide range of applications and uses of Alum. Isn’t it an inspiring and engaging journey? 

Aside from its culinary uses and health benefits, Alum has also made its way to cosmetics. 

It is utilized in waxes for hair removal. It can also be used after waxing to calm down and soothe inflammations or irritated skin. 

Moreover, it is used after shaving as Alum is one of the ingredients in styptic pencils. It helps the aftershave cuts by sealing them.

I’m not finished yet. It has the quality of killing bacteria because of which it is also known as ‘deodorant rock’. It is widely used in deodorants or as a deodorant to stunt the growth of bacteria that causes you to smell bad. Hence, an antiperspirant deodorant.

Alum is used in deodorants or as a deodorant rock due to its antibacterial properties.
Alum is used in deodorants or as a deodorant rock due to its antibacterial properties.

Alum and Baking Powder

It is known that in the 19th century, the bakers would use Alum in the ingredients as a leavening agent. This would make the baker charge more for the look it gave to the finished product.

Since then, it has been used in baking by professionals. Nowadays, Alum is present as an ingredient in baking powder as well.

Alum is also typically added to baking powder as a leavening agent.
Alum is also typically added to baking powder as a leavening agent.

Frequently Asked Questions to What is Alum Used For In Cooking?

How Long Can the Alum Powder Stay Good?

It depends on the storage. If you store it properly in a tight-lid container in a cool, dry, and dark place, you can use it at its finest quality for two to three years. 

Is Alum the Same as Baking Soda?

Alum and baking soda are two different things. Alum is a chemical leavener that can be used at home. However, it is utilized as a reactant in baking powders.

Can You Take a Bath in Alum Water?

Alum can be helpful with controlling excessive sweat. If you are someone that sweats a lot, you can take a fresh bath in Alum water. Because of its anti-bacterial properties, you will see it being used in a lot of deodorants as well. It helps you get rid of the bacteria that smell bad.

How to Turn Alum Into its Powdered Form?

The answer is ‘by heating’. When Alum is heated continuously, the crystals break down further and further into amorphous powder.

Conclusion to What is Alum Used for In Cooking?

In cooking, alum is mostly used for pickling and canning. It works as a leavening agent as well as it is also a component of baking powder.

Alum and its benefits almost sound so miraculous and made-up. It is truly unique how it can be utilized in food and give these really substantial health benefits. 

But it is important to learn more about Alum and do research by yourself and be cautious of the overuse as nothing is good in excess.

Author Bio

Daniel Iseli (Head Chef)

Hi, my name is Daniel and I am passionate about cooking. I have been cooking for the past 20 years and am happy to share my best recipes and cooking-related knowledge with you.