Quick note on cherry juice and Agar ‘Jell-O’

Previously, on tastingmenu.wordpress.com –

* https://tastingmenu.wordpress.com/2020/03/25/agar-jell-o/

My wife wanted me to make a cherry agar ‘Jell-O’ as a weekend dinner dessert.  I was concerned about the juice she wanted me to

1st attempt of cherry arg Jell-O portioning

use the Stanton Orchards juice to make the dessert.  A quick check told me that the Montmorency cherries had a PH value of 3.28 ± 0.44a, not quite as acidic as yuzu, but acidic enough to raise a concern.  So I did a quick trial and mixed up:

1/2 c boiling hot water
2 T Stanton Orchards Montmorency Cherry Juice Concentrate
1 T + 1t monkfruit sugar
1/4 t agar powder

As it would turn out, it was ‘ok’ but the texture was still a little too stiff for my liking.  On the educated guess that the acidic strength boundary would have to be below 3 to cause a problem, I dropped the agar amount back the dashi gelee formulation and mixed up another batch as:

1/2 c boiling hot water
2 T Stanton Orchards Montmorency Cherry Juice Concentrate
1 T + 1t monkfruit sugar
1/8 t agar powder

I divided it into two ramekins and once it cooled to room temperature, I got the ramekins into the refridgerator to chill for dinner.

Stanton Orchards Cherry ‘Jell-O’ ready for plating

After dinner, I got them out.  It was interesting that it still held it’s shape in the ramekin but still had that wiggle when I shook in.  As the dessert was being unmolded, my wife volunteered to get some fresh diced mango ready to pair with the dessert.  As the dessert

Stanton Orchards Cherry ‘Jell-O’ with fresh mango

came out of its mold onto the plate, it did break apart a little (I supposed it was sort of expected).  Upon tasting the dessert, my wife confirmed the flavor was what she expected and the texture had the same softness like the yuzu agar ‘Jell-O’ we had previously.  My sense is, at this point, if the fruit juice has a ph of 3 or above, it’s probably ok to use the 1/8 t amount of agar to the 1/2 cup of boiling hot water.  A quick check indicates pineapple juice has a ph of 3.5 but there may be an issue with its natural enzyme bromelain.  I don’t expect this to be a problem since agar is basically a polysaccharide while gelatin is derived from collagen; bromelain apparently dissolves/digests proteins.  It will be interesting to see if I can make pineapple ‘Jell-O’ in this manner.

Update (19 Apr 2020)

So I attempted to make the pineapple agar ‘Jell-O’ as before with a small can of Dole pineapple juice.

Juice for the pineapple ‘Jell-O’

and it turned out the flavor was too weak.  Taking an educated guess, I remade the pineapple ‘Jell-O’ with a whole 6 oz can.  Because the juice was sweet enough on its own, I chose not to add any extra water nor sugar.  I brought the pineapple juice to a boil and then added the 1/8 t of agar powder, brought it to room temperature and then chilled it for dinner as part of a dessert with fresh fruit.  The result was what I

pineapple juice agar ‘Jell-O’

expected.  My sense of this is that if the fruit juice as a ph value above 3, it’s probably enough to bring it to a boil and then add the proportionate amount of agar powder (6 oz juice & 1/8 t agar powder, 12 oz juice & 1/4 agar powder, etc).  So for example, it turns out that ( https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/cranberry-juice-acidic-alkaline-11731.html ) reports cranberry juice has a ph between 2.3-2.5.  In that case, I would apply the technique I used in making the yuzu ‘Jell-O’ and try:

1/2 c boiling hot water
2 T cranberry juice
1 T + 1t monkfruit sugar (thank you Matsuhisa-sama!)
1/4 t agar powder

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