Citric acid is a natural acid found in fruits such as lemons, limes, peaches, plums, grapefruit and oranges. Citric acid is responsible for the tart taste in many citrus fruits and can be extracted by adding calcium oxide, which forms calcium citrate. Citric acid promotes healthy digestion, may prevent urinary tract infections, and is a natural preservative, according to the website Drugs.com. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved citric acid for use in food. Try citric acid as a preservative for both food and skincare products. Citric acid powder can be purchased at many natural health and food stores or online.
Boil 2 cups of distilled water and then add 0.05 percent to 0.1 percent citric acid powder to the water. Stir until dissolved. Set aside to cool. Add when cooled to homemade skin products such as lotion, lye soap and face cream as a preservative.
Squeeze a citrus fruit such as a lemon or lime over fresh produce to keep it from browning. The citric acid is particularly useful in preventing cut apples or bananas from browning after exposure to air.
Use 1 tsp. citric acid per qt. of water or juice when canning produce to help preserve the final product.
Add 1 tsp. citric acid per qt. of rinse and soak water when sprouting seeds until ready to consume.
Use 1 and 1/2 oz. per 100 lbs. of meat when preserving meat, such as jerky. Add to meat while seasoning the meat and prior to casing, grilling or smoking.
While allergies to citric acid are rare, if you experience rashes, hives or difficulty breathing after consuming citric acid, discontinue use and consult a doctor.
Meredith Jameson writes early childhood parenting and family health articles for various online publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from San Francisco State University.