To Extract or To Blend

Perhaps the next juice on your hand is like a carefully processed sapphire. A clear see through liquid with a light tint. Maybe red, blue, orange, brown or yellow. There are two reasons for this. The fruit of concern was extracted down to clarity. Second, the juice is water tinted with laboratory prepared coloring and flavorings.  Our favorite low cost juice that is later taxed higher ( due to sugar tax under TRAIN Law) and banned in  public schools.

This appearance is natural for wine, bandy, whisky and other spirits. Wine is either forced clarified or thru natural process by aging. For other alcohols, distillation process is a sure way to get rid of impurities, unless it is added back after. However, pulp is a necessary component of fermentation. Grapes, the primary wine ingredient, is crushed, not extracted.

We are accustomed to this that we want to extract juice from our favorite fruit. Even if we know that it is better to blend it with the pulp, perhaps additional water and sugar if we want to. Better yet, eat it unaltered. It is boring though and not always possible. Like if we want to transfer it to distant location or eat later. Refrigeration and freezing are expensive solutions. Processing techniques are often cheaper and effective alternative. Reducing the juice into instant powder is one of the best way. Customers can later reconstitute it to fiberless and sapphire like juice.

When buying a juicer, there are two choices. First is a device that separate juice from pulp. It could either be a screw press type ( the one use for pressing oil ). Or, the centrifugal. Spinning at high speed to throw away the juice first then pulp into separate bin. One container for juice and one for pulp. The second are blenders. A cylindrical container with spinning blade in bottom. High speed that some brands can go up to 20,000 plus rpm. It never separates juice from pulp. It mixes it to homogeneity. Some manufacturers are using it as marketing tool. Emphasizing fibers are essential part. It shouldn’t be thrown away. Other high speed blenders claim that their brands can release nutrients. Making them readily available for absorption.

On my point of view, getting the juice and throwing away the pulp is kind of waste. Like what we did in project study the last time. We made dragon fruit jelly. Guess what we did with the pulp? We threw it away. Now I am thinking, it shouldn’t be the case. We should have made dragon fruit jam instead. Or, developed other useful products with the remaining pulp, like fruit leather, pastillas, candy and polvoron. For home preparation, go for blends (puree) instead of clear juice. You and I might not be a nutritionist but we both know that fibers are good for us.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

Reworking Fruit Jam to Fruit Leather

Reducing juice volume without use of any sophisticated equipment is a daunting task. Boiling and stirring it for several hours. Ensuring the sides and bottom are regularly scraped to prevent burning. Stirring is getting harder on muscles as the pulp and sugar concentration rises. The heat against skin makes you wanna leave it and take a long rest. Even harder for heavy concentrates, jellies, jams and fruit leathers.

When someone asked me to specifically use her homemade fruit jam as inclusion for chocolate bars. I asked her to remove more moisture, cook it longer than usual and make the texture similar to fruit leather. Chocolate hating moisture is a known fact. It must not interfere with the process.

The product arrived in its usual texture. Spreadable jam. I was screwed. I could still use it though as bonbon fillings. Something that explodes after biting its crunchy shell. However, the request was not bonbon. It was chocolate bar with visible dried fruit specs on back. I cannot just place it on bar while molding. It will flow out surely once the bar is placed sideward or up-side-down. You know when it comes to chocolate bars, putting “this side up” sign is ridiculous. Who will follow the ridiculous sign by the way? It will simply not work.

fruit jam spread

It need rework. If cooking it from scratch in a pan is tedious. I bet it is even more for rework. Imagine the hard work of mixing and taking care not to get it burnt.

What I did? I spread it thinly in a pan and heated in oven for almost three hours. The purpose was to remove moisture but prevent it from getting burnt. Spreading it thinly exposed wide surface area which aided drying without stirring. It would have been faster if I have forced convection oven and able to spread it even thinner.

Last thing, I suggest putting it on baking paper for easy removal.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

Durian Chips

Durian chips. I am expecting a foul smell, but there is nothing. There must be something in the process which gets rid of the unwanted odor. Just like how the common durian pastillas is. Strawberry taste is sour while the processed spread is very pleasant. The pure cocoa is too bitter while most of grocery shelf chocolates are mouth watering. Food techniques are really wonderful. Should I say it the other way around? Tricky, instead!

durian chips

It is crunchy. Taste a bit sweet, salty, oily and a sharp aftertaste that I cannot described further. It could be the expected flavor when fried. Oily is attributed to absorption of too much oil during frying or failure to use paper towel when cooling. I enjoyed it primarily because of the first mentioned attribute. As for the taste comparison against original fruit, it is no where near. None of the fried or roasted food taste like the original though. Coffee, cacao, fish and meat, even the other chips variants never taste like their origin.

Uneven sizes and slice thickness. The color is yellow to dark brown. Some are crunchy and some are soft. There is one slice, half yellow, half brown. Suggesting it was fried with insufficient amount of oil. We encounter this a lot in frying of fish at home. It is only half submerged that it needs turning to cook the other half. Uneven is often the result . Another factor that might contribute to this is the uneven ripeness of durian.

Achieving even thickness, sizes and flavor. This will compete well with the others, potato, camote, banana and cassava. Never mind the flavor comparison with the original fruit.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

Macopa, For Juice, Wine and Cider ?

Thanks to my sponsor. I got some macopa for experimentation!

I never ate the fruit before. Not because it was my first time seeing it. I have been crossing its path since childhood. I have seen no one bother touching it. Fruits are falling down to ground and rotting. I thought all along it was not fit as human food. Continue reading “Macopa, For Juice, Wine and Cider ?”

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

The Apple that will Never Go Brown

I forgot the movie name already but the scene is still very clear to me. A man asked his maid for sliced apples. His request arrived but he irked and refused it. Seeing the slices discoloration, he told the maid that it took her so long to accomplished such an easy task.

What else can the maid do. Apples are real quick when it comes to changing its color from very pale yellow to unappealing brown. I said so cause it is not its natural color. Like how we move our eyebrow when we see a blue chocolate or a violet mango. We won’t accept it readily unless introduced by a big and well known company. Continue reading “The Apple that will Never Go Brown”

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.