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What's Alum Used For?


Chris Amirault
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You can use it to change the pH of your soil to make your hydrangeas another colour, as a styptic pencil to stanch the bleeding, an antiperspirant, a component of your baking powder or to kill your garden slugs. Might need a bigger bottle!

Oh yeah - and to make your pickles crisp!

Edited by Kerry Beal (log)
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You can mix it with salt to use for toothache.

It also used to be a primary ingredient in styptic pencils to stop bleeding from shaving cuts.

Not sure I'd like to use it in pickles though. It still has a question mark over it as a causative factor in developing Alzheimer's. Although I'm not big on correlational research, why risk it if you don't have to?

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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Hydrobiologia 451: 11–17, 2001. Jellyfish as food Y-H. Peggy Hsieh1, Fui-Ming Leong2 & Jack Rudloe3

"Jellyfish have been exploited commercially by Chinese as an important food for more than a thousand years. Semidried jellyfish represent a multi-million dollar seafood business in Asia. Traditional processing methods involve a multi-phase processing procedure using a mixture of salt (NaCl) and alum (AlK[sO4]2 · 12 H2O) to reduce the water content, decrease the pH, and firm the texture. Processed jellyfish have a special crunchy and crispy texture."

"Extensive liquidation of the tissue occurs in the absence of salt, while disagreeable odors develop in the absence of alum."

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Alum is used as a hardener in photographic processes, and the gelatin in photographic emulsions is a pure form of the gelatin used in the kitchen that comes from bones and hides, so the alum is probably hardening the gelatin in the jellyfish and in various other things, though I don't know that that would account for crispy pickles.

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