Washington, Jan 22 : Want to make "Grandma's Penicillin," also known as homemade chicken soup, tastier and more savoury in the cold and flu season? Well, just add lots of celery into it.
A new study has shown that homemade chicken soup is more appealing to stuffy-nosed cold and flu victims if prepared with plenty of celery.
Kikue Kubota of the Technical Research Center in Kawaskai-shi, Japan, and colleagues say that cooks have long recognized celery's ability to enhance the complex flavours of soups and broths. However, they have been unable to unearth the roots of celery's thick, full-bodied, and satisfying taste effects.
To answer this question, the team prepared batches of chicken broth with and without a volatile extract from celery. Panels of tasters confirmed the flavour of soup made with celery extract was more intense.
Celery's extract enhanced the sweetness and umami -- meaty or savory -- taste of the broth, even though the extract had virtually no flavour of its own, Kubota said.
The researchers identified three compounds -- called phthalides -- responsible for celery's flavour enhancement.
Phthalides may induce beneficial enzymes, restrain enzymes mediating inflammatory processes, or interact with ion channels
The study, "Flavor Enhancement of Chicken Broth from Boiled Celery Constituents," is published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.