Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
A somewhat arcane but fascinating vegetable extract is culinary chlorophyll, an intensely green coloring agent that is not identical to biochemical chlorophyll, but is certainly a concentrated source of it. Culinary chlorophyll is made by finely grinding dark green leaf vegetables to isolate and break open cells; soaking them in water to dilute pigment-damaging enzymes and acids, and separate off solid fibers and cell-wall debris; gently simmering the water to inactivate enzymes and cause the cells and free chloroplasts to rise to the surface; and straining off and draining the green mass. Though the chemical chlorophyll in culinary chlorophyll will still turn drab when heated in an acid food, it can be added at the last minute to acid and other sauces and maintain its vibrant green through the meal.