Have you been in a situation where you stepped out for a while knowing that the pan on the cooktop will not boil over and on your return..SHOCKING SIGHT IN THE KITCHEN…all the liquid has spilled over. Well, I have faced this situation many times where I sneaked out for a second and ended up in a messy spill over, even on a medium flame. It mostly happens with my morning tea, I turn around to grab something and just then you hear that annoying sizzling sound, as if it was waiting for me to turn.
Without even looking or turning my back I can address to that most disturbing sizzle sound. With a very grim look I peep inside my pan to see if there in any tea left in the pan…URGH!! nothing. Believe me it’s very frustrating too see your morning tea spilled all over the cooktop (sniff..sniff). But then I came across this cool internet trick and before publishing it to the site I myself wanted to give it a try. IT WORKED!! No more spills. Yes you heard me right, NO MORE SPILLS.
MY EXPERIMENT– On a medium flame boiled custard in a kadhai and placed a wooden spoon across it and reluctantly walked away. To my surprise the wooden spoon prevented the custard from boiling over and saved me from the messy clean-ups. The first thought that crossed my mind was – My morning tea, dear you are SAVED!!
HOW TO DO IT– To prevent liquids from boiling over just place a wooden spoon across the pan/kadhai. Set your flame to medium and without worrying keep on working as usual. In the picture below see how the custard in the kadhai is boiling and rising to the surface. It touches the wooden spoon and everything settles down. Isn’t it amazing, as if someone is commanding the custard to calm down 🙂 But what’s the reason let’s find out.
SCIENCE BEHIND IT- First reason– When any liquid starts to boil, the side of the pan pushes the bubbles towards the center and these bubbles that are in the center reach the top earlier than the rim of the pot. The wooden spoon sitting in the center of the pot acts like a physical barrier and pop the bubbles as they rise to the surface. Did you notice in the last picture how the liquid subsides after touching the wooden spoon- because wooden spoon is hydrophobic meaning- water fearing or unable to absorb water, this is what causes the bubbles to burst and keep them from boiling over.
Second reason– The wooden spoon is colder than the rising liquid and when the bubbles that are filled with steam rises to the top and touches the cold spoon they condense and settles down. Simple theory colder spoon causes the bubbles to burst and move away.
For more scientific details read the link below.