Clarification

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

Clarification is the process of clearing a liquid of suspended particles. True, butter is not thought of as a liquid, and butter is clarified (see butter and ghee), as are other fats; but otherwise the definition holds.

In the kitchen, things which may need clarification are stock, clear soup, aspic, jelly, etc. The agents of clarification are various. Filtration is simplest but will not catch the smallest particles. A change in temperature may suffice, if followed by drawing off the liquid from above or from below. Or ‘hunter-catchers’ may be let loose in pursuit of the particles, as when egg white and eggshell are employed or a few slices of potato are heated in used cooking oil. Even more drastic are the ‘hunter-killers’, in the shape of proteolytic or pectolytic enzymes which do not merely trap the offending material but destroy it.