Make Salt and Vinegar Chips With Homemade Sodium Acetate

Potato chips with salt and vinegar – polarization theme; you either love them or you hate them. Living with vinegar haters can make life difficult, but with just two extremely common ingredients, your family won’t have to fight in the chip aisle.

My own house is divided on this topic – I’m obsessed, but my husband thinks they “smell like poison” – which means we usually “settle” for a bag or plain chips. (Just kidding! We’re buying two different bags!) Unfortunately, I still find shakers of vinegar powder (called “sodium acetate”) for sale, I found a way to stir up the batch at home.

There is some chemistry here, but don’t worry. If you’ve ever built a volcano for a science fair in elementary school, you’ve got one. Using a simple acid-base reaction between vinegar (HC2H3O2) and baking soda (HC2H3O2), the acid and base are neutralized to form a salt (in this case, acetic powder NaC2H3O2) along with water and carbon dioxide:

NaHCO3 + HC2H3O2 → NaC2H3O2 + H2O + CO2

As with any experiment, you should read the full instructions on Instructables, but the basic method is as follows (it stinks a little, but worth it for the salt and vinegar lovers):

  1. Slowly add small amounts of white vinegar to a rounded tablespoon of baking soda, stirring after each addition. Once the mixture stops sizzling, even with stirring, the acid-base reaction is complete and you are left with sodium acetate (a good substance) in the water.
  2. Next, bring the water to a boil by placing the mixture in the microwave for three 5-minute segments, and then do a few 1-minute splashes until you hear a hiss. (It should still be mostly liquid.)
  3. Purge this saturated solution until crystals form, let cool and dry in a bowl with a coffee filter.
  4. Sprinkle everything. This product is great for popcorn, almonds and of course potato chips. Extra credit if you cook it yourself, in the microwave or traditional frying .

Now Hoosbro – and your household vinegar hater – can eat his unsullied potato chips, and the rest of us are free to sprinkle sour flavors on them with wild enthusiasm.

How to make sodium acetate from homemade ingredients

Acid-base reactions | Georgia State University


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