Alkalis counterbalance and neutralize ACIDS. In cooking, the most common alkali used is bicarbonate of soda, commonly known as BAKING SODA. Adding baking soda to the water when cooking green vegetables helps maintain their bright color because it neutralizes the natural acid in the vegetables. Unfortunately, it also destroys some of the vegetable's vitamins. Baking soda is used as a LEAVENER in baked goods where it neutralizes acid ingredients (such as molasses, buttermilk and honey) and produces tender breads, cakes, and so on.