Colour and Cooking: Flavonoids

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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This general term embraces some groups of pigments whose names invite confusion: flavones, flavanols, etc.

Flavones occur in what are thought of as ‘white’ vegetables—white onions, potatoes, cauliflower, and white cabbage are all examples—and may in certain circumstances produce a yellowish or brown colour. If this occurs because of cooking the vegetables in ‘hard’ (in slightly alkaline water), a little lemon juice will deal with the problem.

Tea contains a common flavone, quercetin, and this is why it becomes slightly paler when a slice of lemon is put into it.