A spoon resting on top of a pot of water that is currently boiling
The vast majority of us are of the opinion that we know our way around the kitchen, but every once in a while, we stumble onto something new that takes us by surprise.
In point of fact, after we put those cooking techniques into practice for ourselves, we might be left wondering how we managed to get by without them for such a long time.
One of these curious movements is placing a wooden spoon over a kettle containing water that is already boiling.
Not only does it provide a convenient place to rest the spoon, but it also stops water from splashing all over the top of the saucepan.
How often do you find yourself preparing pasta, taking a short break from the burner, and then returning to the sound of water hitting the item below? You won’t have to worry about it any longer after this point.
To merely be aware that a wooden spoon inhibits the liquid in the pot from heating up is a quite different thing from knowing why this phenomenon occurs.
Throughout the years, there have been a great number of hypotheses, but when trying to learn the truth about something that involves research, it is almost always preferable to include scientists in the investigation.
According to Michelle Dickinson, the author of “The Kitchen Science Cookbook,” wood acts as an insulator, which means that it does not conduct electricity or heat.
When placed on top of water that is boiling, a wooden spoon will cool down to a temperature that is lower than the pot it is sitting in.
When boiling starchy foods like spaghetti or other similar foods, the water temperature may fluctuate, increasing the risk of the pot overflowing.
When starch is mixed into the water, the consistency of the water thickens, which in turn allows the bubbles to rise in size and more easily break the surface of the water.
However, in the case of spaghetti bubbles, starch is what keeps the outer around each other and secures the connection. The shell of any bubble is made up of a combination that is kept connected.
“If the bubbles reach the cooler and dryer wood,” says Dickinson of Simplemost, “these molecules to break their chain and the bubble explodes, releasing the vapor from within the bubble.”
The cycle will continue even after the water has returned to its normal temperature, but the spoon will ensure that bubbles continue to form.
A prominent scientist at Wake Forest University and the head of Academic Influence named Jed Macosko, Ph.D., argues that the texture of the spoon also plays a part in the phenomenon.
The rough surface of the spoon, along with the fact that it is made of a type of wood that does well in contact with water, is what prevents the bubbles from bursting with force.
If you don’t have the spoon, “large bubbles of steam may erupt in unpredictable bursts, showering scorching heated air all over the stovetop,” cautions Macosko.
A doctorate holder in computational chemistry named Scott Beaver makes the following claims:
Because of this, the likelihood of bubbles beginning to soak up and seep into the wood is significantly increased.
This causes the bubble to expand more. The stretching force required to break the bubble apart is more than the holding power that the surface tension has over the bubble.
The outcome of this is that the bubble will collapse.
Even if it isn’t really important how this kitchen hack works, the fact that it does can still help you save time and prevent you from having to deal with any hassles.