Popping pearls, also known as popping boba or bursting boba, are small balls of gel-filled with flavored liquid. They add a fun and interactive element to drinks and desserts and are a popular addition to bubble tea, smoothies, and yogurt bowls. These pearls are made using spherification, which involves creating a gel around a liquid core using a combination of sodium alginate and calcium lactate.
Sodium alginate is a thickener derived from brown seaweed. It forms a gel when mixed with calcium ions. Calcium lactate is a calcium salt used to harden the sodium alginate gel. When the fruit juice or puree mixture is dropped into a calcium lactate solution, the mixture forms into small pearls due to the gel formed by sodium alginate and hardening by calcium lactate.
It is important to note that the pearls must be stored in the refrigerator and consumed within a week. They also can be frozen for longer storage.
One benefit of making your popping pearls is that you can customize the flavors and colors to your liking. You can use different fruit juice or puree types by adjusting the amount of sodium alginate and calcium lactate used. This allows you to experiment with different flavors and create unique combinations to suit your taste.
Ingredients and Equipment For Popping pearls
To make popping pearls, you will need the following ingredients:
- Sodium alginate, which is a thickener derived from brown seaweed, forms a gel when mixed with calcium ions
- Calcium lactate, which is a calcium salt that is used to harden the sodium alginate gel
- Fruit juice or puree of your choice for the filling
- Food coloring, if desired
You will also need the following equipment:
- A blender or food processor
- A small pot
- A slotted spoon or a dropper
- A plastic container or bowl
- A measuring spoon
- A kitchen scale
8 Steps to Make popping pearls
- Blend the fruit juice or puree until smooth in a blender or food processor. If using food coloring, add it now and blend until the desired color is achieved.
- In a small pot, mix 0.5% sodium alginate with water, heat, and stir until the mixture is dissolved.
- In a separate plastic container or bowl, mix 4% of calcium lactate with water.
- Drop small balls of the fruit juice mixture into the calcium lactate solution using a dropper or slotted spoon. The balls will harden immediately and form pearls.
- Carefully scoop the pearls with a slotted spoon and rinse them under cold water to remove any excess calcium lactate.
- Place the pearls in the sodium alginate solution for about 2 minutes.
- Carefully remove the pearls from the sodium alginate solution and rinse again under cold water to remove any excess sodium alginate.
- The popping pearls are now ready to use! They can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Tips for Popping Pearls
- Use a kitchen scale to measure the ingredients, ensuring that the pearls come out the correct size and consistency.
- Be careful not to over-blend the fruit juice or puree, as this can cause the pearls to become too soft and not hold their shape.
- The pearls can be customized by using different types of fruit juice or puree and by adjusting the amount of sodium alginate and calcium lactate used.
- The pearls can be frozen for extended storage.
Making your popping pearls at home is a fun and easy way to add a unique touch to your drinks and desserts. With a bit of experimentation and creativity, you can create pearls in various flavors and colors to suit your taste. So, give these homemade popping pearls a try next time you want to add a touch of fun to your bubble tea or smoothie!