Food Chemistry Project Ideas

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

Food chemistry is the study of the composition of food, including nutritional components, preparation, and preservation. The following projects provide interactive opportunities for students to learn about food chemistry.

Food Chemistry

Earliest studies of food chemistry focused on preventing contamination, but as food became more processed in the 1900s, the focus has shifted to the examination of additives and preservatives, as well as nutritional quality. The following projects provide opportunities for students to examine the food they eat through the lens of a scientist.


Grade level: 8th -12th

Time: 1-3 days

Key Terms:

  • carbohydrate

Guiding Questions

  • How can carbohydrates be used to alter other foods?
  • How has the flexible use of carbohydrates in processed foods impacted nutrition?


  • concentrated fruit juice
  • fruit pectin
  • sugar
  • water
  • clear glass containers
  • hot plate
  • oven mitts/trivets
  • stirrer


  • Students will create jelly in three separate clear containers by mixing 1 ½ tablespoons of fruit juice concentrate, ¼ cup of water, and 3 teaspoons of fruit pectin.
  • Students will boil each mixture over a hot plate, stirring continuously.
  • Students will add ¼ cup of sugar to the first container, ? cup of sugar to the second container, and ½ cup of sugar to the third container.
  • Stirring continuously, students will bring each mixture to a boil for one full minute.
  • Students will use oven mitts to remove each container and allow to cool on a trivet.
  • Students will record the differences in consistency for each jelly recipe.
  • Students will create a lab report that explains the differences when carbohydrate levels are changed and draw conclusions about how carbohydrates are used in food processing.

Fats in Foods

Grade level:

Time: 2-3 days

Key Terms:

  • lipids

Guiding Question

  • How much and what types of fats are in various foods?


  • 10 glass containers (per student/group)
  • hammer
  • sandwich bags
  • potato chips
  • semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • slivered almonds
  • food scale
  • acetone
  • cheesecloth
  • timer
  • safety equipment (goggles, gloves)

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