palate

You don’t have to be a chef or major foodie to mellow out your mouth between courses. Many people cleanse their palates at super fancy restaurants, at wine tastings or if they are sick, but you can do it at any restaurant (even your local pub) and at home. Why is it important? Because taste buds are tiny sensory organs on the tongue that pick up sweet, salty, sour and bitter flavors, then send the signal to your brain. So to make the most of your meal, try these simple tips to get the real flavor of your food.

Suck on Some Citrus

Stock your table with a few wedges of lemon, orange or grapefruit. Between courses or items, suck on a wedge and rinse it with some room temperature water. The acidity will neutralize your taste buds. You can even sprinkle the citrus with some chopped up mint.

Snack on Bread or Crackers

Keep that bread basket! Enhance your meal by snacking on some bread. The texture of the bread will help remove food particles and the bland flavor will neutralize any flavors that still remain on your buds. Just avoid bread with strong flavors like sourdough, rye or pumpernickel. Dry, unsalted crackers work the same way, too.

Sip Room Temperature Water

Maybe those Europeans are on to something with that no ice thing. By drinking tepid water you can wash your palate. Be sure to drink it slowly so it has time to completely pass through your month. Very warm or very cold water is less effective at neutralizing the food still affecting your taste buds.

Swallow Some Sorbet

Dessert between courses? Sign us up! Nosh on a spoonful or two of sorbet – let it melt in your mouth so your tongue gets a little numb. Citrus flavors like lemon work the best and it’s great for people with colds.

Taste Bud Fun Facts

The average person has about 10,000 taste buds and they are replaced every two weeks. However, as a person ages, the taste buds get replaced less often so an older person may only have 5,000 working buds.

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Image by ProBuild Garden Center