Have you ever eaten a kiwi and felt like your tongue was on fire? You’re not alone! Many people have experienced the same intense burning sensation and have wondered what’s causing it. It turns out that there’s a scientific explanation behind why kiwi burns your tongue. In this article, we’ll explore the science behind why kiwi burns your tongue and what you can do to prevent it from happening. We’ll also examine how kiwi can add a unique flavor to dishes. So, keep reading if you’re curious about why kiwi burns your tongue!
Why Does Kiwi Burn My Tongue?
Kiwifruit is a highly acidic fruit. When you eat it, the acid in the kiwi contacts your tongue and causes a burning sensation. The higher the pH of a substance, the less acidic it is. Pure water has a pH of 7 and is considered to be neutral. Substances with a pH below 7 are acidic, while substances above 7 are basic or alkaline.
Why Does Kiwi Burn Your Tongue?
The kiwi’s acidic pH
The first thing you need to know about why kiwi burns your tongue is that kiwi has a very low pH. The pH scale runs from 0 to 14, with 0 being the most acidic and 14 being the most alkaline. A pH of 7 is neutral, meaning it’s neither acidic nor alkaline. The kiwi has a very low pH of around 3, making it one of the most acidic fruits. That makes sense if you think about it because the kiwi is technically a berry, which is typically more acidic than other fruits.
Why does kiwi burn your tongue?
When you eat a piece of kiwi, the acid in the kiwi interacts with your saliva and produces hydrogen ions. The more hydrogen ions released, the more acidic a food is. If you’ve eaten something too acidic for your liking, you might have experienced some tingling in your mouth. That’s because the hydrogen ions interact with receptors on your tongue and trigger a sensation of pain. So, eating a piece of kiwi triggers these receptors, making it feel like your tongue is burning.
Why does kiwi burn your tongue? The effect is temporary
Another thing to know about why kiwi burns your tongue is that it doesn’t last very long! After eating a piece of kiwi, the sensation will only last for about 30 seconds before fading away completely. Even if you peel off the skin, the acid is still inside, so it will still burn the same way.
How can you avoid kiwi burning your tongue?
Now that you know why kiwi burns your tongue, there are a few things you can do to avoid it. First of all, make sure to eat the kiwi slowly. You’ll have time to taste the flavor of the kiwi and enjoy it rather than just eating it in one bite. Another thing you can do is drink a glass of water after eating a piece of kiwi. This will help neutralize some of the acids and reduce the chances that your tongue will burn afterward.
How To Prevent Kiwi From Burning Your Tongue
Eat it with a spoon
Some people experience more burning when eating a kiwi with a knife and fork than eating it with a spoon. This may be because the kiwi is in direct contact with your tongue longer when you use utensils. If you’re experiencing intense burning from eating kiwis, try eating it with a spoon instead of using utensils.
Eat the skin too!
The kiwi’s skin contains many of the same compounds that cause your tongue to burn when you peel and eat it. The skin is also very bitter, so if you peel off the skin before eating it, you may not experience any burning sensation at all! So, try peeling off the skin of your next kiwi and see if that helps reduce your tongue burn!
Add sugar or salt to your kiwi dish
You can reduce the bitterness of kiwi by adding a pinch of sugar or a dash of salt to your kiwi dish. This will also help balance the dish’s acidity, which may contribute to some burning sensations.
Avoid refrigerating your kiwis
Many people refrigerate their kiwis after they buy them, but this can make them more bitter and increase your chances of experiencing tongue burns when you eat them. If you want to eat a fresh kiwi, try leaving it at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before eating it!
How To Prepare Kiwi To Minimize Burning Sensation
Cut the kiwi into quarters
The reason why kiwi burns your tongue is that the fruit contains a large amount of actinidain. This chemical is found in the fuzzy skin of the fruit, giving kiwi its unique flavor. The actinidain causes a burning sensation when it comes in contact with your tongue. So, a straightforward way to minimize this effect is to cut up your kiwi before eating it. If you try to eat a whole kiwi, you’ll experience a lot more burning than if you just eat some!
Eat it slowly and chew well
When you eat a piece of food, the taste buds on your tongue are activated by food molecules dissolved in saliva or sprayed out from chewing. Taste buds then signal to your brain about what you’re eating and how good or bad it tastes. However, if you chew too quickly or swallow your food too quickly, you won’t be able to taste the food. So, it’s best to eat your kiwi slowly and chew well so that your taste buds can detect the actinidain and send the “fire” sensation to your brain.
Add lemon juice
Another way to minimize the burning sensation is to eat your kiwi with lemon juice. Kiwi is a fruit with a relatively high pH, so adding lemon juice will lower the pH of kiwi and reduce the amount of actinidain that comes in contact with your tongue. If you don’t have lemon juice when eating kiwi, vinegar will also work! Vinegar has a pH of 2-3, much lower than kiwi (5-6). So, if you have vinegar or lemon juice on hand when eating kiwi, try adding a little to minimize the burning sensation.
Eat kiwi with other foods
The reason why kiwi burns your tongue is that it contains a lot of actinidain, which stimulates the nerve endings of your tongue and causes a burning sensation. So, if you eat kiwi with other foods that contain a lot of umami and have a rich texture, you’ll be able to taste the umami flavor more quickly than the actinidain flavor. For example, if you eat kiwi with chocolate or cheese, the umami taste will get in the way of tasting actinidain and minimize any burning sensation you might experience. So, if you’re worried about experiencing any burning when eating kiwi, try eating it with food that has a rich texture or high umami content!
Kiwis are a great source of vitamin C and other nutrients and can be eaten raw or cooked in various dishes. If you’re one of the many people who find kiwis extremely burning, you can try preparing them differently to see if it helps reduce or eliminate the burning sensation.