Cryofiltration: Perfectly Clear Juice from Fruits and Veggies

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Crystal clear and flavorful tomato water? Transparent gazpacho? Pepper water? Clear apple juice that doesn’t oxidize? Perfectly clear consommé with almost no effort? Cryofiltration sounds complicated but it is very easy and it does not require any expensive equipment. And the best part? The results are amazing with almost any broths, fruits and veggies. And because it does not require any heating at all, it preserves the original flavor and aromas of the preparation.

I've tried several methods to filter liquids including micro bags and expensive filters but when Chef Jordi Cruz told me about cryofiltration, I couldn't believe how well it worked. Sometimes the most simple techniques produce the best results.

Tomato water clarified with cryofiltration

Jordi Cruz, chef at 2 Michelin Star restaurant ABaC, loves consommés. In his own words, “I am a very liquid chef. I really like making good consommés, broth and sauces.” In his never-ending search for ways to explore flavors and ingredients, he decided to freeze some goat juices in ice cream buckets then thawed them in the fridge. He noticed that it separated into two parts; one cloudy and one extremely clear. This gave him the idea to try it with broths and other liquids.

Cryofiltration simply involves freezing your product, (you can do it with just about anything – broths, fruits, veggies, anything) then defrosting it in the fridge by placing it on a filter or cheesecloth with a container underneath so that as it defrosts, the liquid seeps through the filter and the more solid parts stay on top.  This is actually the process that he uses to create the mushroom broth in one of the dishes that we tried, his  Liquid Parmesan Gnocchi and Mushroom Infusion .

"We created a mushroom juice with fresh mushrooms, chicken stock, butter and cream resulting in a very flavorful mushroom cream. When we froze it and let it thaw over a cloth with about 400 microns, we obtained a very nice and clear mushroom consommé. This is what we now use in the Parmesan Gnocchi." Chef Jordi says with passion.

This cryofiltering technique is also great to make apple juice that doesn’t oxidize, according to Chef Jordi. He told us to freeze green apple cut in pieces and thaw it using this method. He has tried cryofiltering everything but has kept what he liked the most such as this mushroom consommé, grape juice with Kefir, gazpacho and pepper water.

For cryofiltration we find it very convenient to use a perforated steam table pan lined with 4 layers of cheesecloth. We used this technique to make tomato water and the results were much better than using micro-bags and expensive filters. The result: crystal clear tomato water with impressive flavor and aromas of fresh tomatoes. You can use this tomato water to make tomato foam, tomato water spheres or just as a cold consommé that can be added to an appetizer for example.

Tomato water clarified with cryofiltration: perforated steam pan

Tomato water clarified with cryofiltration - perforated pan with cheesecloth

Ingredients for Tomato Water

- 3 kg (6lb) tomatoes, peeled and seeded, blend

Preparation

Tomato Water using Cryofiltration

1- Peel tomatoes and remove seeds. To peel tomatoes remove the stem and carefully make a couple of cuts to the skin originating from the end where you removed the stem. Place them in boiling water for 10 to 15 seconds and transfer them to a recipient with ice cold water. Wait for a couple of minutes and then you should be able to peel the skin very easily with your hands. Remove the seeds.

2- Cut the tomatoes in small pieces and blend.

3- Place the tomato puree in a flat container in the freezer. Make sure it fits in the perforated steam pan. You are then going to unmold the frozen liquid and place it in the perforated steam pan.

4- Line a perforated steam table pan with 4 layers of cheesecloth and place it inside a non-perforated steam table pan of the same size.

5- Remove the frozen tomato puree from container, place it over the cheesecloth and store it in the fridge for 24 hours.

6- Collect the clear tomato water from the bottom steam table pan.

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