Together with my good friend Maria I have been playing around with some mango and cranberry juice, sodium alginate and calcium salt creating caviars for some new years eve molecular mixology. I had seen Ferran Adrian at El Bulli demonstrate olive alginates and when Maria showed me the stunning results of Luxirares parfait we had to try this ourselves. I ordered the ingredients from Cuisine Innovation a french supplier that takes sub-kilogram orders of molecular gastronomy ingredients.
Sodium alginate (E401) with the chemical formula NaC6H7O6 is an extract from seaweed commonly used in the food industry as a stabilizer and emulsifier. When a liquid containing sodium alginate is introduced into a solution of calcium chloride it reacts to form a gel like texture.
We mixed the mango juice with sodium alginate and added some fructose and citric acid in order to enhance the flavor. The cranberry juice we boiled with cane sugar along with sodium alginate to form a thicker syrupy consistency. Using plastic syringes we dropped the solution into the calcium solution and let the drops set for a few minutes before removing and washing them.
The result is quite beautiful, and at first the texture was amazing. The skin breaks in the mouth and the tasteful liquid explodes in your mouth. However New Years eve they had a solid gel like texture and the taste had fainted. So eat them fresh, and take care to wash of the calcium chloride properly to avoid them solidifying further.