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A naturally occurring, tart tasting compound formed in many fruits, such as gooseberries, lemons, limes, and pineapples. It is extracted from the juices of the fruits to be made into a white powder that is used as a flavoring in foods and beverages or as a component in the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals. Citric acid can also be produced by fermenting glucose, as occurs when scraps of fruit ferment as they age or by allowing water and molasses to ferment naturally.
Citric acid is not only used as a flavoring but also as a firming compound. Tomato products use citric acid to keep canned tomatoes firmer in texture as well as reducing the pH level to assist with the sterilization process when canning. It was also a common ingredient used to keep canned fruits from darkening. Citric acid may also be referred to as sour salt or citric salt.
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