Every week I answer a question from a Good Food listener. You can email me a question, leave one on Facebook or add one in the comments section here. This week’s came from Jen:

My husband and I just picked some green beans from the garden and decided to blanch them for dinner. Yum. We noticed after cooking them, the water was pink. What’s up with that?

This one stumped me, so I sent a tweet to food scientist Harold McGee and received the following response:

Guess: initial browning reaction in residues; fresh-cut mushrooms go pink->red->brown.

Stay tuned as we investigate this one. Has anyone else experienced this?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/mcgovney Brian McGovney

    The beans must have some kind of pH indicator in them, perhaps an anthocyanin. This can be seen much more strongly in, say, red cabbage. Dressing the beans in vinegar, or acidifying the cooking water, would increase the effect.

    A Google search turns up some more discussion about this: http://scientopia.org/blogs/ethicsandscience/2008

    Science. It's what's for dinner. :)

    • gillianferg

      Thanks Brian!

  • http://www.facebook.com/mcgovney Brian McGovney

    The beans must have some kind of pH indicator in them, perhaps an anthocyanin. This can be seen much more strongly in, say, red cabbage. Dressing the beans in vinegar, or acidifying the cooking water, would increase the effect.

    A Google search turns up some more discussion about this: http://scientopia.org/blogs/ethicsandscience/2008

    Science. It's what's for dinner. :)

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