How to Make Juice Caviar
Juice caviar and other pearlized liquids are a fun way to add a delicate flavor to dishes without soaking the food or changing the texture. It works with all liquids, not just juice. It also makes attractive garnishes and is a fabulously cool way to make oceans in your bento box. Pearlized liquids do not melt from being in liquid or heat, they pop from pressure. Since they don't melt from hot liquid (hot not boiling) they can be put in soups and stews as well.
Juice caviar is made from liquids that have dissolved sodium alginate in them. First sodium alginate is dissolved into liquid. Next the liquid is dropped in small droplets in a calcium chloride/water mixture to make and firm the outer skin. Then when the outer skin has reached the firmness desired, the pearls are taken out and put in a bowl of water to rinse off the calcium chloride. Its fun, simple and cheap kitchen science.
The sodium alginate is made from algae, but not to worry sodium alginate has no flavor of its own (so your food wont taste like seaweed). Sodium alginate is also vegan.
- 250 g Juice
- 500 g Water
- 2.0 g Sodium Alginate
- 2.5 g Calcium Chloride
- Step One:
- Mix 2 g of sodium alginate to 250 g of juice. Mix carefully to prevent air bubbles. Set aside and go to next step when finished.
- Step Two:
- Dissolve 2.5 g of calcium chloride to 500 g of water.
- Step Three:
- Fill third bowl with water and set aside.
- Step Four:
- With dropper, pipette, cheese grater or other tool of your choice take juice solution and drip it into the calcium chloride solution. I starts to firm up into a little round ball as soon as it drops in the calcium chloride solution. The size of the pearls is dependent on the size of the droplets you make. The longer the droplets stay in the calcium chloride solution the thicker the skin gets.
- Step Five:
- When the skin of the caviar/pearls achieve desired thickness, remove them and put them in the bowl of water. Check thickness by squeezing the pellets. How much pressure it should take to pop them is up to you.
Uses for Juice Caviar
Add Flavor to Soups
Visually Pleasing Way to Deliver Flavor (works great for salad)
Fun Way to Get Kids to Drink Vegetable Juice
Use for Bento Box Lunches (Makes great oceans and landscape)
Supplies & Suppliers
1 - Scale for weighing ingredients
3 - Large Bowls - You will need three bowls, one to mix liquid and alginate and one for calcium chloride bath and one for rinsing. I prefer Pyrex bowls to plastic because glass wont hold smells or tastes.
1 - Large Strainer - Not so large it wont fit in the bowls you use.
- Container/s for Finished caviar
- Droppers/ pipettes or other means of making droplets (I use a broken cheese grater.)
- Sodium Alginate
- Calcium Chloride
- Liquid to be Pearlized (Juice, Olive Oil, Spice Mixes, Midori, Gatorade, whatever liquid you like.)
I try to buy local as much as possible to avoid paying shipping but some things are just hard to find localy. Such as the sodium alginate, I got that through Amazon. I found the calcium chloride localy through Ace Hardware. Ace has free website to store shipping. All you do is order on line and check ship to store and pick your store. Ace will email you when your item reaches the store you picked.
Juice Caviar Supplies: Vote for your favorite
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Juice Caviar From Around The Web
Great instructions for making carrot "Ikura Caviar"
A complete kit and other tools for making juice pearls. Cool but pricey stuff.
This link is for excellent pictures of the equipment and the pearls.
More instructions for making juice caviar
SoulVeggie has an article on juice caviar
- Ace Hardware
Calcium Chloride at Ace
Glass Mixing Bowls at Target