Spherification - Storing spheres? mal-reactants?

Joined Apr 18, 2011
All - 

I have just started messing around with spherification (the act of making liquid spheres utilizing a chemical reaction between alginate and calcium) and i had a few questions for anyone out there.

1 - what is the best way to store the spheres? I have heard that the reaction continues and you will eventually end up with glutinous spheres - how long does this take? is this size dependent? Is it best to store the spheres suspended in water?? I want to make some for a coursed dinner i am planning and would love to make ahead of time ~ a few hours or so?

2 - are there any particular ingredients that this process will not work for??  Most of the people online do it with fruits and such though i was thinking of different herbs/spices/etc... does anyone have any experiences or know if there are certain items that would not react well with this process??

thanks - alex
Joined May 24, 2009
1. Yes you will end up with solid spheres if you leave your spheres in the reactive bath.  The process is not linear but yes, but yes size matters.  Generally for something like fruit "caviar" the spheres are removed after just a few seconds.  A larger sphere should be given a little more time simply because you generally want to give it a slightly thicker membrane.  To stop the reaction of your spheres, move them to water.  You should store them there.

2.  No obvious ingredients that it won't work for.  But its not super practical for everything.  The real benefit IMO is the fact that this technique gives you a gel membrane that is irreversible with heat.  We used to do reverse spherification using butter.  A ball of butter would be basted with the sodium alginate solution to form the gel around it.  Heat would then be applied to the gel encased butter to melt the inside.  The result was a bladder of butter that would leak melted butter once pieced with a fork.
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