Picture of Carrot Caviar
There is a movement in the cooking world called "Molecular Gastronomy." The term was coined by Herve This, and become associated with chefs like Ferran Adria at El Bulli, Wylie Dufresne at wd~50, Grant Achatz at Alinea, and Homaru Cantu at Moto. Here is an interesting article in the New York Times.

Essentially, it involves applying scientific techniques and methodologies to the cooking process. One of the interesting results is found in the use of common substances to control the texture of foods, often in surprising ways.

You don't need a chemistry lab to pull off such effects. Jump on board the Molecular Gastronomy train by making up some carrot caviar in your own kitchen.

Here's a quick video of me making Carrot Caviar at Maker Faire 2008:

Step 1: Assemble your tools and ingrediants

Picture of Assemble your tools and ingrediants
Round up a few bowls and a strainer in your kitchen. In addition, you need some more unusual gadgets:

A Very Accurate Scale
I chose this one. My criteria were 1) It is accurate to 0.1 grams, and 2) It looked more like a kitchen scale than a drug scale. It also had a bunch of nice features (counting, for instance) that I may never use.

Immersion Blender (optional)
You can use a regular blender, but the immersion version is nice because you get less air whipped into your solution.

Syringe (optional)
I got these the same place I got the chemicals (below). I have also heard of people using traditional squirt bottles, like the red and yellow ones that are traditional for ketchup and mustard. The syringe makes me feel more like a real chemist.

For ingredients, you will need:

250 g Carrot Juice ( some nice Odwalla Juice from the local store)
500 g Water (from my local tap)
2.0 g Sodium Alginate
2.5 g Calcium Cloride

These last two are both a bit unusual. I ordered from Le Sanctuaire, which is based in San Francisco. There are other suppliers, like Texturas (Europe), L'Epicerie (in the US). L'Epicerie has a fabulous looking pipette for making cavier on an industrial scale.
1-40 of 100Next »
n8man6 years ago
Cool instructable. One question, could you do this with other juices like strawberry, blackberry, or orange?
mzed (author)  n8man6 years ago
Yes, although more acidic juices are tricky. With other juices, I've used sodium citrate to contral acidity.
n8man mzed6 years ago
What about carbonated juices?
bpersun n8man2 years ago
sromes13 years ago
btw...thats how they make synthetic seeds as well using sodium aliginate or similar substances to cover plant embryos .
abeazley4 years ago
Where did you get your calcium chloride and sodium alginate?
mzed (author)  abeazley4 years ago
I got them at Le Sanctuaire, here:


Probably not the cheapest, but local to me. You could also try here:

or even Amazon.
Oh dear lord.
In the middle of doing this right now.
DEFINITELY not as easy as it seems.
THis is awesomee!! and Btw, did anybody else notice the boy at 2:12 in the video...? haha
I think the new "Passionfruit Pop Boba" at the Each A Cup bubble tea chain in Singapore are basically this stuff. I had some yesterday and they're awesome. Thanks for the recipe, will try making some at home if I can locate the alginate for a reasonable price.

By the way, as a biologist I'm very amused to see a 96-well multichannel pipette for kitchen use...
rand0mmm4 years ago
Made the carrot style, Worked Great! Did a careful measure as recommended, tho we made half the amount. Also, we added alginate to the carrot with a small battery whisk running keeping it agitated. No problems, except for cleaning out 5% of the 96 little pipettes that clogged.
carpfluff5 years ago
that's very disturbing... considering that carrots don't have eggs.
I did something similar last week with coffee, to make Sumatra caviar.

A full set of pics and instructions is here, and here's a pic of the final result:

Among the differences in our technique was that I heated the alginate mixture, which was according to the recipe I was following, but also I used hot liquid, which as it turns out, was probably not the best of ideas.

Also, I did my measurements in standard U.S. cooking measures (teaspoons, tablespoons, cups, etc. just because it was easier than breaking out the real scale.)

That said, with a little improvisation (and some added chocolate) the resulting coffee caviar turned out fairly well for a first try.
OK so I tried this. granted I didn't measure everything perfect, but I just wanted to test first. I used grape juice instead of carrot juice. I put the alginate in the juice, the cal chloride (it's cheap at a beer making store) in the water, and then just water. when I driped the juice mix in the cal clor it just disputed, no ball, or form. I tried adding more alginate and cal chor to see if I was just too low. will that happen if the mix is off? please help, aright me at phycoinveter@gmail.com
The problem with molecular gastronomy is that sometimes you have to be really precise. I suggest 200 g of water to 2.0 g of sodium alginate to achieve the ideal molarity for the solution. Also, you have to take in account that grape juice has a much higher pH level than carrot juice does. I don't know if that is a factor, but a difference in pH can either cause the sodium alginate and calcium chloride to create a salt lattice bond, or not. Pay attention to the concentrations in your solution. And if the acidity does pose a problem, nuetralize the grape juice with a base, also buy some pH strips. And don't dip them into the solution, as they will leave a strange taste, rather drop the nuetralized grape juice onto the ph strip.
Most likely its the fact that you added alginate to the juice. its the opposite, adding juice to the alginate. (Take a look at the video)
It might be the grape juice...
ampeyro6 years ago
please, can you post the european suplier again? the link is broken
I just Googled it. I think it's this: www.albertyferranadria.com/index-eng.html
Mmmm. Delicious, edible, not to mention homemade

paintballs :D
raimen6 years ago
could you do this with other types of juices, or just carrot?
*thinks of the limitless possibilities* :D
Azayles6 years ago
I'm thinking you could mix up some, oh I dunno, raspberry juice or something, then fold it carefully into some melted chocolate and when it sets you'll have chocolates with "explode in the mouth" raspberry bubbles :-D
phenoptix6 years ago
Thanks for the instructable, I thought this was how el bulli did it. I remember making yeast in alginate in biology at school to. I think melon caviar is quite a popular variation although I'll definitely try this carrot version as well as the coffee version as below. Cheers!
room temp jello shots?
Jello-less jello shots ;-)
Just think, because they'd be "cruelty free" hairy legged vegan chicks can now get drunk with the frat boys. I envision a new era in feminist/frat boy relations.
And you'll unite the geeks and the frat boys, as the frat boys would just screw it up! Soon: world peace!
ELF zachninme7 years ago
I suggest crossing the vegan girls and geeks (geeks usually don't have too high standards, so hairy legs should be fine ;) ) slowly killing the frat boys race, with the ultimate end result being super intelligent humans in a world of peace... :P
blubrick ELF7 years ago
Breeding Geeks and Hairy Legged Vegan Girls might seem like a good idea at first, but it will never work. You may be right about Geeks' standards, but it's not the Geeks' standards that were ever likely to be a stumbling block.

The Vegans might not be terribly enamoured with this suggestion. After all, they are used to being rather particular about what they put into their bodies. Fortunately, this same reluctance to introduce unhealthy things into the body also deals with the "I got your protein intake right here!" set quite effectively.
I've never known a Vegan Girl that was real particular about what they put into their bodies when it is 'natural' (a burning herbal substance that is inhaled comes to mind), this includes homemade alcohol....
ELF blubrick7 years ago
... So we're gonna have to work out untill we look healthy enough to penetrate the vegans? :S Sounds like a long and tedious process...
But then the muscular nords would come down from the mountains with large spikey armor and big intimidating hammers to smash all you little nerdy kids, then shave your vegan mates and rape them.
gamefreek76 ELF7 years ago
Us geeks have very high standards, and you'd never catch me dead with a hairy legged vegan chick.
Ditto. I'm A Geek, not a nerd - THERE'S A G*DD*MN DIFFERENCE!
ELF gamefreek767 years ago
I could mention more than a few geeks who wouldn't mind the hairs...
gamefreek76 ELF7 years ago
I could mind the hairs... not the vegan chick. And you'd be surprised how high my standards are.
Would the vegan girls have a sufficient protein intake to successfully gestate viable offspring? Most vegans, that I have observed, look a little like death warmed over. Then again, there's the matter of the geeks' possible chromosome damage, from exposure to cathode ray tube electromagnetic frequency radiation (before they all got lcd screens), from computer overuse.
Yes, there is the problem with vegan girl malnutrition... That would be have to be solved... About the chromosome damage in the geeks... It's called evolution ;) We're just gonna have to kill the useless offspring...
I'm just waiting for some wag to chime in, saying something like: "I've got some protein for 'em, har, har, har". This would still probably qualify as an animal product though...
1-40 of 100Next »