Easy Molecular Gastronomy – Cold Oil Spherification

Molecular gastronomy is a food science that combines physics and chemistry to experiment with tastes and textures of food. It’s an intriguing (and delicious) form of cooking that uses a mixture of creativity, precision, and experimentation of various elements to transform the way we think about food. While we have barely scratched the surface of the art, we started with something simple: spherification.

Spherification is a process that turns liquids into solids. Generally, spherification uses sodium alginate and calcium gluconate to create a liquid-filled “shell.” (Which, we will explore at a later date). Cold-oil spherification, however, uses a few household ingredients to create a gel-like pearl that is a consistent texture through-out.

Cold-Oil Spherification Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup (plus about a teaspoon, generally) of your liquid of choice*
  • 1 tsp Agar powder
  • 1 cup vegetable oil

Directions:

  1. Place the cup of oil in the freezer. In order for the process to work, the oil must be cold but still a liquid. So, don’t leave it in for too long. Generally, about 30-40 minutes works well to accomplish this.
  2. Once the oil is cold, add the other ingredients to a saucepan and bring to a boil, whisking constantly.
  3. When the liquid boils, remove from  heat and let it set until it is 120-130 degrees.
  4. Fill a syringe with the 120-130 degree liquid and expel it drop-by-drop into the cold oil.
  5. After all the liquid has been spherified, strain out the oil and rinse well in cold water.

That’s all there is to it! The orbs do need to be eaten immediately or refrigerated.

Start with your cold oil

Dropping the liquid.

Rinsing

Notes:

  • * We used lemonade, cherry juice, and a green fruit and veggie juice mix. They all worked equally well.
  • If your liquid is acidic, you may need a bit more agar-agar.
  • Thicker liquids are a bit tougher to spherify. You may have to add water and that dilutes the flavor.

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