What is Citric Acid Powder?

Micki Elizabeth

Citric acid powder is a somewhat weak, organic acid that is typically derived from adding mold cultures to sugars. The resulting product has a variety of uses. The powder is commonly used in several types of food preservation and canning, especially on a smaller scale, such as in the home. This powder may also be used as a flavoring in certain drinks and foods, particularly in sour candies. The acid has the ability to soften hard water in an environmentally-safe manner and can, therefore, also be used in cleaning agents. One can find the product for a relatively cheap price in bulk amounts.

Citiric acid powder may be used to flavor sour candies.
Citiric acid powder may be used to flavor sour candies.

The food grade form of citric acid powder is widely used in canning. When preserving raw, cut fruits, one may fight off oxidization with the powder, which can sustain vitamin C levels. This may be because the acid itself is found in several different fruits, especially those with a high vitamin C content such as limes and lemons.

Sour candy dusted with citric acid.
Sour candy dusted with citric acid.

Those who enjoy canning and preserving their own foods in the home often use citric acid powder in the process. The acid has the ability to slow the growth of bacteria, likely preventing spoilage. One needs only a small amount of powder for canning, drying, or freezing foods.

The naturally sour or bitter taste of the powder makes it useful when adding flavoring. Sour candy often contains the acid in some form. Many fruit juices naturally contain citric acid, though more powder may be added if one desires a stronger citrus taste. Many brands of sodas and beers often utilize trace amounts of the powdered acid as well.

Citric acid powder is widely used in various types of cleaning agents. Due to its ability to soften water, the powder can help to create the bubbly foam that many consumers expect from cleaners. One can mix his own product simply by adding the powder to water, though one should first look for directions online; too much citric acid in the mixture could harm some surfaces. Many consumers have experienced success in cleaning dishwashers, coffee makers, and other appliances with citric acid powder and water. As the acid is safe to consume in small amounts, this method of cleansing should be safe.

Citric acid powder can be found in many vitamin shops and health food stores. Several different manufacturers sell it online in bulk quantities. Consumers may, however, wish to check the trustworthiness of a manufacturer before buying from them, as cheap, non-food-grade versions of the product are out there. It is typically a good idea to read the customer reviews available on most retailers’ websites.

A mix of citric acid powder and water can be used as a safe cleaner.
A mix of citric acid powder and water can be used as a safe cleaner.

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