Strawberry Oil

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

Appears in

Origin

By Ben Shewry

Published 2012

  • About

Ingredients

  • 250 g (9 oz) strawberries, hulled
  • 120 ml ( fl oz) grape seed oil
  • 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) freshly juiced and skimmed strawberry juice, passed through muslin (cheesecloth)
  • 50 ml ( fl oz) water
  • 25 g (1 oz) liquid glucose
  • 100 g ( oz) isomalt*
  • table salt and natural citric acid*, to taste

Method

Place the strawberries and oil in an upright blender and pulse until the berries are roughly puréed. Pour into a vacuum pouch and vacuum-pack on 100 per cent for 40 seconds in a chamber vacuum sealer*. Place the bag in the refrigerator for 12 hours to infuse.

Hang the contents of the bag in muslin (cheesecloth) over a bowl. As the liquid passes, the oil will separate from the strawberry juice. Use a ladle to skim off the oil into a small container and set aside — you should have 100 ml ( fl oz).

Pour the strawberry juice into a 6 litre (210 fl oz) capacity distillation flask, place in a rotary evaporator*, set the water bath temperature to 30°C (86°F) and the cooling temperature to -20°C (-4°F), set the rotation speed to 30 RPM and distil at full vacuum for 2 hours (depending on the strength of the vaccum) or until a thick bright-red syrup forms. Alternatively, although it will not achieve the same result, you could reduce the juice in a small saucepan until a thick syrup forms. Using this traditional method of boiling an ingredient at 100°C (212°F) will impart a more jam-like flavour to the strawberry juice instead of producing a very fresh, clean raw taste, which cold distillation achieves.

In a small saucepan, combine the water, liquid glucose and isomalt and heat to 80°C (176°F). Gently whisk until the sugars have dissolved. Cool to 40°C (104°F), then whisk into the strawberry distillation.

Pour the strawberry distillation into a 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cup) capacity jug with straight sides. Add the strawberry oil to the strawberry distillation, a little at a time — as you would add oil to egg yolks to make mayonnaise — while blending with a hand-held stick blender until completely emulsified. The result should be an orange-coloured syrup with no visible trace of oil. Add a small pinch of salt and taste. Depending on how sweet the strawberries are you may need a very small pinch of citric acid to balance it out. Store in an airtight bottle in the refrigerator until needed.