Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Remember kids: sodium alginate + calcium chloride = "caviar"

So, as a really cool part of my chairman's award prize in the ICSA southern food contest, I got a baggie of a weird cream-colored powder called "sodium alginate" and another baggie of a grainy white stuff called "calcium chloride". Concerned that somebody maybe sent me drugs, a bomb, or terrible terrible poison, I mashed the internets for a minute or two, and suddenly realized what pure awesome I had received.

The two chemicals can be used to make foods with a texture almost exactly emulating caviar. I'm not a scientist, so don't grill me too hard on the science of it. You make a juice out of "something" and add a little of the sodium alginate to that to gel it up and make it a little thick. Then you put that in a syringe. In a water bath, you add calcium chlorate, then slowly drip in your juice mixture. The drops set immediately upon hitting water, and the reaction of the alginate and chloride start to create a skin that holds the liquid inside. You then let it sit for a good 30-60 seconds, fish out the pearls of caviar with a skimmer, and immerse in another water bath to stop the chemical reaction.

The power and potential for this stuff is huge. Vegan caviar with truffle oil would be pure evil, but I'm wanting to get a can of concentrate orange juice to make fruit caviar, top that on a cloud of whipped cream, and put that on a vanilla cookie or something to make a weird dreamsicle flavored thing.


Max said...

So you would recommend about 1 gram sodium algenate per 25g of whatever juice you use, and mix in 2.5g calcium chloride for every 200 g of water? Your orange fruit caviar gave me an idea for a date, so I'm curious as to how I would do it properly

Max said...

Sorry. Jumped the gun, and did not see the procedure in the video.

cheryl said...

Where do you get they magic compounds?

cheryl said...

sorry, that should say these magic compounds