Coffee, cocktails and political debates. People are addicted to BITTER. But before talking about the importance of bitter as a taste, let's talk about how to tone down bitterness in your delicious food. Because, let's just be honest, bitter is a signal to our brain that something is unripe and a potential toxin. No thank you! But, according to Becky Selengut's book How to Taste, where I found the following experiment I conducted, bitterness (when done right) can add complexity.
To cut down bitter, try caramelizing (think of raw brussels sprouts... *gag* versus roasted brussels sprouts... *yummm*), blanching, rinsing (especially important for kale after you chop it because chopping makes it release an extra bitter taste), sweetening, diluting, fattening (to coat the tongue), and warming (aka iced black coffee is death by bitterness and why is it a thing.)
Now let's test this with an experiment...
Raw cucumber - It tastes refreshing. The center is a little sweet. The peel is pretty bitter. There's almost a teeny tiny bit of tangy-ness.
Salted cucumber - After letting a cucumber slice absorb a few grains of sea salt for a few minutes, the flavor definitely changed. The bitterness was reduced to an undetectable level. The salted cucumber is still refreshing. It is more salty than sweet now & yay to less bitterness!
HEALTH TIP: Digestive bitters when taken before a meal can help kick-start digestion secretions and therefore improve overall digestion, absorption of nutrients, detoxification by the liver and even reduce stress!