Can lemon 'cook' fish?

Science Illustrated - - ASK US -

Fish 'meat' con­sists of large, com­plex pro­tein mol­e­cules. All pro­teins have a spe­cific 3D struc­ture, which is nec­es­sary for them to func­tion. The struc­ture is frag­ile, and par­tic­u­larly heat can change the 3D struc­ture. When a fish is fried, the pro­teins un­fold, and the con­sis­tency of the fish is al­tered. The struc­ture of the pro­teins and so the fish can also be af­fected by acid. Lemon and lime juice con­tain cit­ric acid, and the low pH of the juice can change the struc­ture of the pro­teins. Although the fish is not fried, the struc­ture changes any­way, so the fish is pre­pared – just as if it had been fried.

Ce­viche is a cold dish with fish and shell­fish that have only been pre­pared with lemon juice.

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