When I said cold sugar preservation, it literally mean trying to preserve balimbing in sugar or sugar solution under refrigerated temperature. Sounds crazy?
Sugar preserves food by making the water in… unavailable for microbial growth. The water molecules are still inside but are bound to sugar particles and cannot be grabbed by microbes. Cold temperature slows down the fruit natural physiological process resulting to extended shelf life. However, my target is to make it shelf stable after taking out of fridge.
Here are the balimbing and balimbing slices drenched in white sugar crystals before refrigeration. Fruits are not visible as they are completely covered with sugar.
It is expected, the sugar granules / syrup will draw out the water from fruit rapidly, resulting to individual cell collapse and fruit collapse in the end. The right thing to do is soak it in series of increasing syrup concentration. This facilitates the slow travel of syrup in and out thus maintaining fruit shape.
I want a shortcut balimbing and balimbing slices soaked in strong syrup / sugar crystals. Storing it in refrigerator might slow down the process of sugar and liquid exchange and maintains fruit shape.
After few days, the results of thin balimbing slices soaked in heavy syrup and sugar crystals. The slices shriveled as the sugar drew out the fruit water. It became chewy, sour and slightly sweet. It is not the result I wanted however.
The results of balimbing slices in heavy syrup and sugar. Only the two cut ends were shriveled. Almost 90 percent of the fruit was still plumb. Looks promising but I am sure it will get all shriveled if left stored longer.
Update as of February 26, 2013
The whole balimbing in syrup. Gained faded color and firm texture but no improvement in organoleptic properties.