Dr Joanna Buckley cartoon

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Hello, I'm Jo from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Sheffield. I'm passionate about chemistry… and I love food! So, join me as I explore the chemistry behind certain foods with Edible Experiments.

From finding out why mustard burns your nasal passages but chillies don’t, the link between beetroot and camels, why you might taste boiled potatoes when you eat cheddar cheese or how beetles can make a surprising contribution to our food – there are experiments for everyone. Watch the videos for an overview of the chemistry, then download the demo sheet to find ideas of how you can present them.

Enthuse your students, excite the general public or just amaze your pals. Let's get people talking about chemistry that's relevant and fun, and help to inspire them.

Enjoy this baker's dozen of Edible Experiments!

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Bitter Orange

Why does orange juice taste horrible after brushing your teeth?

Download the 'Bitter Orange' demo sheet
(PDF, approx. 300KB)
 

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Blowing Hot and Cold

Why do spicy foods taste hot and minty foods taste cold?

Download the 'Blowing Hot and Cold' demo sheet
(PDF, approx. 300KB)

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Candy Coatings

How do beetles help to make certain sweets?

Download the 'Candy Coatings' demo sheet
(PDF, approx. 300KB)

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Cheesy Chemistry

What distinct flavours can you detect in cheese?

Download the 'Cheesy Chemistry' demo sheet
(PDF, approx. 300KB)

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Earth's Perfume

What is the chemical responsible for the earthy taste of beetroot?

Download the 'Earth's Perfume' demo sheet
(PDF, approx. 300KB)
 

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Investigating Invertase

How are fondant centres in chocolate created?

Download the 'Investigating Invertase' demo sheet
(PDF, approx. 300KB)
 

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Love You, Honey
 

How can honey be solid or runny?
 

Download the 'Love You, Honey' demo sheet
(PDF, approx. 300KB)
 

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Sherbet and Popping Candy

What makes sherbet fizz and what makes popping candy pop?

Download the 'Sherbet and Popping Candy' demo sheet (PDF, approx. 300KB)

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Sugar Rush

Why is fudge gooey and why are hard boiled sweets hard?

Download the 'Sugar Rush' demo sheet
(PDF, approx. 300KB)
 

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Supertaster

Do we all experience exactly the same flavours?

Download the 'Supertaster' demo sheet
(PDF, approx. 300KB)

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Temper, Temper

Why is tempering chocolate so important?

Download the 'Temper, Temper' demo sheet
(PDF, approx. 300KB)

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The Heat Is On

Why are chillies and mustard hot, but taste different?

Download the 'The Heat Is On' demo sheet
(PDF, approx. 300KB)

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Tooth Furry

What causes that 'furry' teeth feeling when eating spinach?

Download the 'Tooth Furry' demo sheet
(PDF, approx. 300KB)
 

Dr Joanna BuckleyAbout Dr Joanna Buckley

Aged seven, the gift of a chemistry set sparked Jo's interest. She completed every single experiment, charring the kitchen work surface with the spirit burner and staining the dining room carpet with indicator in the process.

Thankfully, her practical technique improved and she studied for a masters degree and PhD at the University of York, where her research focused on nanomaterials.

Always passionate about science communication, Jo now works for the Royal Society of Chemistry and is based at the University of Sheffield, helping to promote chemistry in the region. She writes and talks about science whenever she can to whoever will listen.

To find out more about the Department of Chemistry's dedicated school laboratory, visit www.sheffield.ac.uk/chemistry/schools

Get in touch

I'm from Yorkshire. We like to talk.

Email: joanna.buckley@sheffield.ac.uk
Twitter: @JoannaBuckley

Many thanks to the University of Sheffield’s Widening Participation team for funding and support and to ChemSpider for chemical structures.