UMAMI AND YOUR TASTE BUDS

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Did you know that taste buds are located around the small structures known as papillae found on the upper surface of the tonguesoft palate, upper esophagus, the cheek and epiglottis. Betcha thought taste buds were only on the tongue. Me too.

Wine tasters known for swishing the wine around the mouth are not only aerating it, they’re experiencing the wine through all of their taste buds, much like we do with food. Some even reach the buds on their upper esophagus by gargling the wine.  So in essence you could say they’re eating the wine.

TASTE SENSATION: Salty, sweet, sour, bitter and umami. So what’s umami mean? Seems like we should know that and not have to look it up. Savory. Umami is a Japanese word. So, in English it’s savory.

People taste umami through receptors specific to glutamate. Glutamate is widely present in savory foods, such as meat broths and fermented products, and commonly added to some foods in the form of monosodium glutamate (MSG). Since umami has its own receptors rather than arising out of a combination of the traditionally recognized taste receptors, scientists now consider umami to be a distinct taste.

Somebody on a food show recently referred to umami as including all the taste sensations. So the meaning may be in the process of becoming morphed into a definition that people can better relate to or understand.

Acrid used to be considered one of the taste sensations, but it looks like it no longer is, so the exact nature of taste buds and what they detect is somewhat fluid. Acrid is like the taste of olives – pungent. To me acrid/pungent is different from salty, sweet, sour, bitter, savory.

For more info on taste buds.

For more info on umami.






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