What is slurry ice?
Slurry ice as a new technique to prevent heat-related illnesses
TREHA®, the key player in high quality frozen products
Blenderless Tropical Soda Frappé to enjoy on a hot summer day!
In this blog, we touch on diverse topics about Japanese food cultures, practices together with the culinary secret, TREHA®, and its important role in the Japanese food industry. We hope our blog helps you obtain in-depth knowledge of the secrets and science behind Japanese cuisine, shared from our kitchen, to yours.
Have you heard of slurry ice before? You might have seen it before in the supermarket, being used to keep your favorite products cold. A 'slurry' is a general term for a fluid in which solid particles are suspended in a liquid. Slurry ice is made up of millions of ‘micro-crystals' of ice (typically 0.1 to 1 mm in diameter), formed and suspended within a solution of water, and often includes salt water. Slurry ice has a greater heat absorption capacity due to its extremely small ice crystals, especially when compared to single phase refrigerants like brine. It is widely used for air conditioning, packaging, and industrial cooling processes, as well as the cooling and storage of fish, poultry, and other perishable products.
With this incredible understanding of slurries, slurry ice is now used in many novel ways. Due to its ability to absorb heat, slurry ice now gets its spotlight as a drinkable ice - a must-have item for summer! In Japan, an American multinational beverage corporation - best known for producing cola and other carbonated beverages, launched its first frozen beverage in a squeezable drink pouch in 2018. This type of ready-to-drink frozen beverage is available at convenience stores and in the supermarket, and can be stored in the freezer at home to take with you on-the-go! This product is designed to be defrosted at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes, and squished with your hands to drink like a slushie. This frosty treat cools down the body on a hot summer day!
In recent years, the risk of heat-related illness, including heatstroke and heat exhaustion, have been increasing due to climate change - which is making heat waves longer, more extreme, and more frequent. One prevention measure to avoid heatstroke is to stay hydrated by drinking water and other chilled beverages. Since slurry ice has a significant cooling effect, it can efficiently cool the body down internally, and can also suppress a rise in body temperature. Because of these characteristics, slurry ice is highly recommended as an option for heat stroke countermeasures in the Guidebook for Prevention of Heatstroke During Sports Activities, published by Japan Sport Association, and is expected to be used in various daily activities. With this, a Japanese pharmaceutical company has taken one of their current rehydration drinks, which contains electrolytes and minerals, and turned it into a slurry ice drink product. Pre-hydration with this product prior to activity effectively "cools from the core", while simultaneously replenishing fluid and electrolytes.
Slurry ice drinks are also garnering attention as a hydrating sports drink. Another Japanese pharmaceutical company debuted its first slurry ice drink in 2021, which is a sports drink that can be frozen, and drank as a fine ice in water. In addition to providing energy, citric acid, and vitamins B1, B2, and B6, it also allows you to take in salt that is easily lost by sweating during exercise, making it an ideal beverage for sports. It has been well received by top athletes in Japan and highly regarded for its ability to provide nutrition in a frozen state during practice and games!
When it comes to producing a frozen beverage or dessert, formation of ice crystals may result in loss of quality and texture. Compared to sucrose, TREHA®︎, product name of Trehalose, inhibits the formation of large and sharp ice crystals, and contributes to a palatable and smooth texture in frozen products【Figure A】.
Quench your thirst and cool off this summer with a tropical soda frappé, consisting of passion fruit sorbet and lemon granita, and garnished with baked coconut meringue. Surprisingly, this recipe doesn't require any machines to make this frappé! We call it 'blenderless', but how do we achieve this? Let's ask talented pastry chef, Hideo Yokota, the creator of this breakthrough recipe, for his secret tips and how he came up with this idea. (Click here for his interview blog). Chef Yokota uses TREHA®︎ in this recipe to maintain the smooth, soft texture of the sorbet during freezing, and enhance the aroma and flavor of the fruit. (Click here for the recipe)
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