MSG is short for monosodium glutamate and it is basically composed of water, sodium, and glutamate. Sodium is the salt component while glutamate is a natural amino acid that can be found in various fruits and vegetables like tomatoes and potatoes. As a mixed substance, MSG is often referred to as the sodium salt of glutamic acid. This substance is often used as a flavor enhancer to food.
A Japanese biochemist named Kikunae Ikeda is given credits for discovering MSG. The inspiration for his experiments was said to be the flavor provided by a seaweed named kombu. This particular seaweed is a popular flavoring for Japanese soups and dishes and it became the target of Ikeda in finding a mixture of ingredients that can help provide a similar savory taste. With the use of the glutamate content of various fruits and vegetables, the substance called MSG was created and became a very popular flavoring agent for various Japanese dishes. The same substance also became a popular addition to Chinese soups and dishes.
MSG is considered a great additive to food as it helps enhance the savory flavors of various items like meat pieces and vegetables. For stews and broths, a pinch of MSG powder is what it takes to improve or enhance the meaty flavor. In cases where there isn’t much meat pieces in a dish for example, MSG is commonly used to maintain its meaty and savory taste. with salt and glutamate from various fruits and vegetables as its main ingredients, bland dishes can be instantly transformed into savory and flavorful dishes. MSG can typically be found in powder form which is makes it very convenient for cooks because it dissolves easily in water. Various food flavorings are also added with MSG to promote a certain meaty or vegetable flavor. Many food flavoring products available today come in powder, paste, or granule forms.