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Foods -- General

What are Epsom salts?

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Epsom salts is a bitter colorless or white crystalline salt that is a hydrated magnesium sulfate. There may be an old jam or jelly recipe around that called for Epsom salts to help the product gel. Magnesium has the capability of forming weak links with pectin in the presence of sugar and acid. It is not a recommend practice since magnesium sulfate is a cathartic (laxative).

PREPARED BY: Angela M. Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist, and Carolyn J. Lackey, Ph.D., R.D., L.D.N., Professor/Food and Nutrition Specialist, North Carolina State University (August 2004)

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