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Feeling the squeeze: compressed fruit

Compress

[verb kuh m-presnoun kom-pres]

verb (used with object)

  1. to press together; force into less space.

So what does this have to do with produce?

Compressed fruit (or vegetables), have become a popular technique in which we can change not only the texture of the produce, but also enhance and change the flavors. Wondering how and why? Think back to your biology class, plant cells are basically made up of water, air, and a cell wall.  In between each cell is a gap filled with air.

Compressing fruit within a vacuum, as the air is removed from the bag the cells expand.  When the vacuum is drawn, the cell structure collapses.  Compression alone will definitely alter the texture, but not always the flavor. To accomplish that, simply place a marinade in the vacuum bag prior to compressing. When the chamber air pressure returns to normal, the solution will be drawn back into the item and will be held in place. Still curious?  This video shows the comprehension process, and can be replicated with any vacuum sealer.

Since the video showed watermelon, we came up with this recipe for a local event we participated in, giving the watermelon the flavor of a mojito.

Mojito Watermelon Compressed Fruit

5# Cubed Watermelon

1 ½ Cups Mojito Simple Syrup

Simple Syrup:

¾ cup sugar

¾ cup water

¼# roughly chopped fresh mint

4 ounces roughly chopped fresh mint

¼ cup fresh lime juice

Zest of 5 limes

  1. Bring water and sugar to a boil, stirring occasionally
  2. Add mint, lime juice and zest
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely
  4. Strain until needed

Final:

  1. Place watermelon and simple syrup in a vacuum seal bag
  2. Draw vacuum and allow to sit overnight
  3. Serve chilled

Content provided by Daniel Snowden, the Director of Culinary Development for FreshPoint Central Florida. He has been in the produce industry years almost 20 years, and loves getting geeky about food. Follow FreshPoint Central Florida on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

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