Carbonated fruit: further adventures with my cream whipper

After I posted on Friday about quick infusion of spirits in a whipped cream siphon, I came across Martin’s excellent post on the subject on his blog, Khymos. I encourage everyone to read it, if you haven’t already.

In the post, he mentions a couple of other non-traditional uses for whipped cream siphons. The first – foams – is probably the most famous, and I’ll talk about those in more detail another time. The second is a technique that I haven’t used for a while, but it’s worth reviewing: carbonated fruit.

A soda siphon works by dissolving carbon dioxide into water under pressure. But carbon dioxide will dissolve in water even when that water is contained in the cells of fruits and vegetables, so by placing those in the canister and charging it with a carbon dioxide cartridge, you can make fizzy fruit. Whipped cream siphons have a wider mouth than soda siphons, so they allow you to carbonate larger pieces of fruit. (Of course, whipped cream siphons are not intended for this purpose, and charging them with soda cartridges instead of cream cartridges probably invalidates your warranty. Use at your own risk.)

The basic process is simple. Fill the canister with fruit, charge with a soda cartridge, refrigerate overnight, release the pressure (don’t forget this step!), open the canister and serve. Here are a few additional guidelines:

  • Use sweet fruit. When carbon dioxide dissolves in water, it produces a small amount of carbonic acid, which makes the fruit taste slightly sour. I’ve even considered placing the fruit in syrup while it’s carbonating, but haven’t tried it yet.
  • Use porous fruit, or cut non-porous fruit to expose an interior surface. The CO2 will have a much easier time dissolving if it doesn’t have to try to pass through a tough skin like on grapes, cherries or tomatoes.
  • Similarly, moist fruits work better than relatively dry fruits. Carbonated orange segments? Works great. Carbonated apple wedges? Not so much.
  • Chill everything thoroughly. Carbon dioxide dissolves more readily at lower temperatures. Because my Thermo Whip is insulated, this means putting everything in the fridge at least 24 hours before I want to serve it.
  • Serve immediately after opening. The fizziness in fruit has a tendency to dissipate faster than in pure water. I assume this has something to do with the plentiful nucleation sites in the fruit.

Now, you may be wondering whether I ever use my whipped cream siphon for whipped cream! In fact, I do; last Thanksgiving, I used it for brandied whipped cream to serve with pumpkin pie at my family’s gathering. But carbonated fruit is a lot more fun!

What kind of fizzy fruit would you most like to try?

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