The Cutting of the Grapefruit

May 4th, 2011 by Colonel Tiki

It’s no secret I adore grapefruit. I’ve even been caught, in public, saying quite embarrassing things about the depths of my love. It’s a love that cuts deep. Today I’ll show you just how deep you should cut and prepare your fruit.

I apologize, dear reader. We are at the very tail end of a glorious white grapefruit1 season, so you very likely won’t be able to get your hands on such a glorious globe as the one pictured here. Fear not! The prep advice offered below is even more appropriate when used on inferior yet widely available red varietals.

The Center Cannot Hold

The center of citrus fruit is roughly analogous to the umbilical cord; it is the highway for nourishment to reach the segments. This marvelous cell structure is responsible for the delicious contents of the fruit, yet it alone is horribly distasteful. The flavor is nearly only strong bitterness. It should be removed. It also imparts a bitter flavor outward into the fruit – the juice sacs adjacent should also be removed. You can see the area below in green on mouse-over:

How to Field-Strip a Grapefruit

So here’s how to do it:


1. Cut through the fruit at just below half, where the fruit bulges the most.


2. Cut each of these two pieces again in half, through the central column.


3. Cut these quarters in half again, carefully through the central column.


4. Here you can see the 1/8th of fruit with the column still attached.


5. Cut through the juice sacs and remove the bitter central column with adjacent sacs.


6. Each such prepared 1/8 of a normal-sized grapefruit should yield ¾oz of flavorful juice2.


And that’s how you do it! If in a hurry, only 4 cuts are needed to have a 1/8 segment, ready to juice. Grapefruit a la minute.

  1. and pomello/grapefruit []
  2. just enough for a Navy Grog! []

The Results are in! (plus site re-theme)

January 7th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

Simple Syrup Science has completed. The results are in! Noel was kind enough to be the last test subject for this round.

To summarize, I produced two 2:1 simple syrups. One was created by nothing more than shaking in a mason jar, the other was heated to boil, then removed from heat.
A tale of two syrups
I did a double blind test, 2 samples of each syrup type in random order.
Less talk, more science.

The main result is that while there is a perceptible difference, but not in the flavor. 66% of the test subjects could not taste a flavor difference. 66 % of the test subjects were able to tell one syrup from the other, but were wrong on which was which. What is the difference?

Viscosity. The hot method syrup was thicker than the cold method. One of the test subjects believed the thickness of the syrup affected the physicality of tasting, and so thought the hot-method syrup was less sweet than the cold-method. Results are a bit inconclusive, so I’d love to see this experiment repeated.

The next test will be tasting difference in falernum: Initial non-scientific non-blind tastings showed no difference between the two syrups in the falernum. I plan to test using the syrups in a cocktail as well.
Battle of the Falernums

But the take home? Don’t waste your time shaking the sugar (unless you are after a thinner mouth-feel for your syrup).

Also, I finished my initial design for the site. If you’ve never been there and only viewed via RSS feed, take a look and tell me what you think. If you’ve been to the site before, you may have to refresh your cache by force-reloading the page.

Cheers!

-=C

Post Holiday Humdrums

December 31st, 2007 by Colonel Tiki

It’s so hard to be back at a day job after holiday festivities.

The simple syrup project already has some results: The hot and cold process syrups have been created. The volume and hue turned out exactly the same, no need for adjusting. Last night Heather and I blind tasted them and recorded our results. I’m not going to report just yet, as we have a few more local tasters who will be testing; I wouldn’t want to skew their results with any early reports.

The Holiday was lovely, with much drinking and mixing going on. There were Tom & Jerrys, Navy Grogs, 3 Dots & a Dashes, Nui Nuis, Corspe Revivers #2, Manhattans, Mah Jonngs, Cesar Rum Punches, Flippin’ Flips, and plenty of highballs to go around. I also treated our merry gathering with 2 growlers of Bridgeport’s Ebeneezer Ale, hand-pulled and cask conditioned.

We were also productive with tinctures and infusions: We made a Creme de Menthe with our house-grown peppermint, Falernum and Pimento Dram, Pomegranate Liqueur, & my most anticipated — Orange Curaçao.

Blair was nice enough to bring over some of his home-made goodies: Rum Shrub, Orgeat, Ginger Beer, Cola Tonic & Taboo Liqueur.

Cigars were smoked, video games played (guitars make heroes), merriment and good cheer abounded.

Sure makes being here now that much worse in contrast. Ah, but tonight shall see more celebration.

Happy New Year everybody!

Science! Draft experiment plan for simple syrup production

December 19th, 2007 by Colonel Tiki

Does heat change the flavor of a simple syrup? Or, is there a difference or preference between cold-process and hot-process simple syrup?

I’d expect heat to alter the flavor of complex ingredients like fruit juice (another experiment perhaps). That is, I would not make grenadine by heating my pomegranate juice, I add simple to concentrated juice (which hopefully was concentrated through evaporation). But does heat significantly change the flavor of the base syrup? It is my hypothesis that the method has no significance to the flavor of the product. Below is the draft of my experiment plan. Please comment and criticize. My goal is to produce an experiment that my be reproduced for any peer analysis that others may wish to take part in.

Experiment setup:

Cold process: 2 cups of sugar and 1 cup of water are added to a mason jar. Lid is applied and mason jar is occasionally agitated until sugar completely dissolves. If any solids are left after 24 hours, they are filtered out, dried and measured. Volume is measured.

Hot process: 2 cups of sugar (minus mass equal to any undissolved solute of cold process) and 1 cup of water is added to saucepan. Mixture is brought to gentle boil and removed from heat. Mixture is cooled to room temperature and volume is measured. Enough water is added to equal volume of Cold process (to replace water lost through boiling).

Person alpha transfers mixtures into jars, marks them with ‘A’ and ‘B’ and places into refrigerator. Only person alpha knows the identities of ‘A’ and ‘B’.

Experiment Execution:

Person beta removes mixtures from refrigerator after 24 hours and secretly dispences into shot glasses/cups labeled 1,2,3 and 4. 2 cups will contain mixture ‘A’ and 2 will contain mixture “B.” Only person beta knows which mixture is in each numbered cup/glass. This is done for as many test subjects that will be taking part.

Test subjects record experiences and try to match sets (i.e. 1&3, 2&4 — I preferred 1&3, the mouth feel was better).

Test recordings are collected by person beta and correlated to ‘A’ and ‘B’. Person alpha reveals identities of cold and heat-processed syrups.