Over the past few weeks we’ve been discussing the use of ice cream stabilizers and the question of what the heck they actually are. Often times these stabilizers are composed of a number of different hydrocolloids blended together to capitalize on each one’s specific characteristics, in addition to the synergy that can occur when you blend them together. An issue that has bothered us is a certain reliance on blends of hydrocolloids. What we find frustrating is not the results of using these blends, rather it is the lack of information about what is in the blends and the quantities, really the ratios, of the blended ingredients. We are searching for a better understanding of hydrocolloids and if we become reliant on the blends of others we are stripping ourselves of the ability to control our creations and comprehend the processes we are employing.
The conversation gradually evolved. We started discussing individual hydrocolloids that control water systems and ice crystal formation, specifically in sorbets. While carrageenan began the conversation, we ended with the huge possibilities of integrating LM pectin into sorbets. This is not a monumental idea, pectin is derived from fruit which is what we use to make most sorbets, although its use as a sorbet stabilizer is brand new to us. Pectin is naturally present in a variety of fruits, and this has actually helped us control ice crystallization without our even knowing it. In fact, upon further examination we’ve realized that the structure of fruits such as mangos and figs and their high sugar content and available cellulose have helped shape the results of our frozen confections. Perhaps we need to look at using the actual composition of the ingredients we are utilizing to help bring a more natural support to our sorbets, ice cream and frozen creations. For example, strawberries contain calcium and small amounts of pectin, which then logically leads us to using LM pectin as a thickener in strawberry preparations, utilizing the calcium available to thicken the sorbet.