Engineered citrus juice (“Superjuice”)

I have not yet researched this topic deeply, but after Wayne Curtis remarked on it on Twitter, I went ahead and made a batch of lime “superjuice”. I simply followed the (loose) directions on this video:

  • collect the peels of eight limes in a vessel
  • add 44g citric acid and 8g malic acid and muddle it all together; wait a couple hours for the acid to extract the oils from the peel
  • add 1 liter of water
  • blend thoroughly (an immersion blender was used in the video, so that’s what I used)
  • add the squeezed juice from the 8 limes and stir
  • strain through a superbag or similar
  • use in place of straight lime juice; store refrigerated

The value proposition here is:

  • a liter of lime juice from eight limes
  • refrigerated stability for many days (maybe a week or more)

I haven’t tested the stability part—I now have two jars of the stuff to store—but I can report that the process does produce a significant volume of liquid that tastes indistinguishable (to me) from straight fresh squeezed lime juice. I made a Daiquiri with it, and the drink was quite nice.

I’ll leave it to others to run the numbers on cost differentials (the acids aren’t free). The process was not onerous, although I’m not sure it’s that suitable for home use, except when you’re throwing a large party. The “sustainability” claims for the process for bars is intriguing. Has anyone looked into the “footprint” of the production of powdered citric acid and powdered malic acid?

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Update, five days later:

Refrigerated, the engineered lime juice has not spoiled, but it has perhaps degraded noticeably.

It’s maybe a touch paler than it was.

Taste-comparing it against fresh-squeezed, they are not quite the same:

  • the fresh-squeezed has a fuller, more floral perfume, whereas the engineered juice smells simply of lime
  • compared to the fresh juice, the engineered juice tastes more purely of simple/pure acid (which makes sense, because it is that)

I do not think the engineered juice tastes “off” at this stage.

In a Daiquiri, all the above basically applies. The Daiquiri with the engineered juice is slightly paler, and ever so slightly… thinner? It’s still a passable Daiquiri, though, not some degenerate concoction.

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