After harvesting and evaluating the balimbing fruit enzyme, I noticed that there were still numerous bubbles rushing to the top. The natural yeast flora was still active and was still converting sugars to alcohol.
I capped the bottle loosely to allow the release of carbon dioxide being released by the process. Stored it again and checked the bubble production every week.
After three weeks, the bubble production finally stopped. It was expecting a change of flavor, was hoping it was better than before.
I was right. It got better. Flavor became milder, more alcoholic, less sweet and the slightly pungent aroma disappeared.
So I waited two weeks before harvesting and another three weeks for the bubbling to stop. It was a total process time of five weeks.
This was an extra result of my Balimbing Fruit Enzyme Experiment. The Fermented Balimbing Prunes Mini.
The following occur during natural fermentation of sugar and fruit mixture. The fruit slices decrease in size as a result of sugar extracting off the water molecules. The sugar crystals became liquid as a result of merger with fruit water. The fruit natural flora ferments the sugar into alcohol. The fruit component become mashy or completely separated to fibers. A unique set of flavors develop.
The same thing happened to my balimbing fruit enzyme exept for one thing. The fruit shriveled, became smaller, became chewy and sweet.
I dried it under the heat of sun for eight hours. Here it is, the Fermented Balimbing Prunes Mini.
I left it on table overnight. No ants are coming near. Maybe they are driven away by alcohol smell.
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.
Here are the balimbing and balimbing slices soaked in 60 °Brix sugar solution before refrigeration.
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.
The whole balimbing in sugar crystal. Almost the same as above but there are fungi growth on top. Sensory tasting is not possible.