The Sugar and The Creamer

the crowne plaza sugar and creamerIt was old, a bit dirty but I was pretty sure their contents were still in very good condition. The Crowne Plaza management did not store it to this appearance. I was the one who did. Since adding sugar and creamer to my coffee is not my habit, I just dropped them in my bag packet as remembrance.

One was sugar and the other one was creamer. It was never stated whether the sugar was artificial or not. My guess was a cane sugar, based on sachet size and content appearance.

I mixed it both in my cup of brewed coffee. Sadly, the ground coffee to water ratio of 3:4 was too strong, a filter drip brewed coffee. I did not sense any sugar or creamer.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Accepts coaching and consultancy services. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines.

Trying the Odd Cold Sugar Preservation Method on Balimbing Fruits

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.

fresh balimbing in sugar crystalswhite sugar on pp boxHere are the balimbing and balimbing slices soaked in 60 °Brix sugar solution before refrigeration.

fresh balimbing in 60 syrupbalimbing slices in 60 brix sugarIt 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.

syrup heavy balimbing slicesliquified sugar shrivelled balimbing slices starThe 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.

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Update as of February 26, 2013

The whole balimbing in syrup. Gained faded color and firm texture but no improvement in organoleptic properties.

balimbing syrup after storageThe whole balimbing in sugar crystal. Almost the same as above but there are fungi growth on top. Sensory tasting is not possible.

mold growth on balimbing sugar

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Accepts coaching and consultancy services. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines.

degree Brix, Soluble Solids and Percentage Sugar Explained

The easiest and most popular way to measure sugar content of any liquid substances, sometimes also solids, is by refractometer method. Bunches of grapes could be sampled for  average sugar content before harvesting. A way to ensure appropriate sugar content prior to wine processing. This also lessen the addition of commercial white sugar. In juice processing. Initial sugar contents could be easily measured by refractometer. Then computational adjustment could be done shortly.

Refractometer is simply a device to measure percentage sugar.  And it is not limited to only one. It could be design to read salt and alcohol content and the basic > specific gravity.

Hydrometers which is being use to measure specific gravity could be use as cheap refractometer alternative. There are hydrometers that are specifically designed for sugar, alcohol and salt measurement. They require relative large amount of sample, 100 ml to 1 liter depending on instrument design and length. These are not suitable for grape sampling. Imagine how many grapes are needed to fill a graduated cylinder.

Refractive index. I won’t say it is a degree of refraction. Here is a more straightforward explanation. It is the solid horizontal line seen every time a liquid sample is placed on refractometer prism. Peep through the eyepiece and see it for yourself.

refractometer scale and dropping sample on prism

The °Brix. Refractometer scale is preconverted to °Brix. One measure is equivalent to 1 gram sugar per 100 grams sample or 1 percent. The measurement is weight over weight (w/w), not weight over volume (w/v).

Are sugar refractometers accurate?

Yes!

Add a known amount of white sugar to measured volume of distilled water. Mix thoroughly and do a refractive measurement. You will get an accurate value if you did it right.

No!

Refractometers measure not just  sugars. It measure other dissolved solids too, like: minerals, vitamins, proteins, amino acids, hormones, etc… So when fruit °Brix measurement is 12. It means 12 percent of sugars and other stuff. The readings are usually expressed in term of Soluble Solids to cover up the discrepancy.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Accepts coaching and consultancy services. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines.

Measuring Soft Drinks Sugar Content /// Again!

Are you still interested in measuring soft drink sugar content and visualize it into tablespoons? I started a post about these on year 2010 but unable to continue due to unavailability of refractometer – a simple hand-held instrument use to measure sugar content. The instrument is within my reach again and I am thinking if I am going to continue my halted activity.

atago hand-held refractometerBefore, I did a refractometer measurement of Cobra Energy Drink and other popular soft drinks. After a quick conversion (for the Cobra only), I arrived at sugar content of 43.2 grams or 3 1/2 tablespoon. However, the bottle label was telling the otherwise. The total carbohydrate it contain was 39 grams. A 4.2 grams difference. Note that this reading was made on year 2010.

cobra energy drink greenI did a sugar reading again using refractometer (year 2013). I got 18 degree Brix or roughly 18%. Then, 240 ml multiplied by 18% was equal to 43.2. The same reading as above.

Were my very own readings more precise and accurate? I think I need more research about refractometer, degree brix and soluble solids.

I think it is still worth the effort… I am going to do measurement as popular beverages cross my hand.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Accepts coaching and consultancy services. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines.

The Original Pardo?

I think this is the original pardo mom used to buy when we were still kids. The pardo made of pure juice extracted from sugar cane. Boiled over a wooden fire until crystallization is achieved. The dark brown sugar with fine and irregular sized granules. It taste sweet, slightly acidic and sometimes have a bite of bitterness.

I rather eat it bare than mix with any beverage. I thought they were candies, a granulized candies.

What is the difference between pardo and muscovado sugar? I think, they are basically the same. The first unique characteristic is its particle size. Large and irregular particle sizes are allowed while muscobado are pound further to turn it to a finer powder.

Okay! That was just my rough observation. A sugar cane processor might help me clarify things someday. I am hoping!

It goes well with palutang and the sole reason why it was bought. It doesn’t suit well with my coffee. I find it too sweet.

pardo as palutang dip

sweetening coffee with pardo sugar

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Accepts coaching and consultancy services. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines.

Temperature Masking the Sweet and Salty Tastes

I found this cheese less salty. I found it less delicious too. You can’t blame me. Most commercial cheeses I have tasted were all salty. Perhaps it is one of the standard taste of cheeses, it should be salty. It is a homemade cheese. The maker might be a health conscious fellow. He loves cheese but want it kidney friendly.

homemade cheese in disposable microwavable plastic

It was a home made cheese. Though it had no ingredient listing, we were expecting it to have less preservatives and shorter shelf life. We were keeping it in refrigerator to help preserve its palatability. Every time I was preparing a sandwich, I was doubling the cheese quantity to compensate for the lesser taste.

A while ago, she left the cheese on table. Its temperature equated to room ambient heat and became softer. I prepared my regular sandwich again and surprised. The cheese became too salty. I remembered suddenly, higher or colder temperature masks taste. These mean I was getting too much salt with every sandwich I made.

Other popular examples of flavor masking:

Regular softdrinks seem less sweeter cause we usually drink it ice cold. Energy drinks such as Cobra and Sting are too sweet even at ice cold temperature. Imagine how sweet are they when not.

Every time mom prepares buko fruit salad, she is making sure it is very sweet. She know very well that sweetness will lessen significantly at freezing stage.

Commercial ice cream are actually very rich in sugar. Our sense of taste are not sensitive enough to perceive the real sweetness.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Accepts coaching and consultancy services. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines.