Kelp Caviar is made by transforming seaweed into pearls using a process called spherification.
Kelp caviar was invented using the same ideas, concepts, and techniques found in molecular gastrony but applied in an industrial setting and on a large scale.
The basis is the same – any product containing calcium that comes into contact with alginate (the compound found on algae leaves) will coagulate (create pearls).
How Kelp Caviar is Made (Video)
Watch this short video below, which aired on the famous TV show How It’s Made to see our process from how we create and shape the pearly to how we flavour our seaweed-based kelp caviar start to finish.
The Process of Making Kelp Caviar
Kelp caviar is made from a gelatinus marine plant called kelp, a type of seaweed. It undergoes a complex 10 step process to go from plant to pearl as explained below and shown in the video above.
Drying the Kelp
The first step of the manufacturing process is drying and processing the kelp. It is dried nautrally and ground to a fine powder.
Preperation & Flavouring
While the kelp dries, a mixture of ingredients is prepared in a water solution to later be added to the kelp powder.
The ingredients include:
- Citric Acid
- Natural flavoring
Creating the Mixture
The ingredients, including the powdered kelp, are added one at a time to a large bowl mixed for about an hour to create viscous and gelatenous liquid.
Creating the Pearls
Once the mixing process is done, the thick liquid is transfered to a pot connected to extrusion machine.
The extrusion machine pumps the liquid from the pot through a custom-made machine that looks like a shower head.
Instead of producing a steady flow like a shower head normally would, it squeezes out tiny droplets of kelp balls that look just like caviar.
The kelp balls drop in a liquid spherification (coagulation) solution, which helps soften the landing but also maintain the pearl’s shape.
Sorting the Pearls
After going through the sphirification process, the pearls drop down into small buckets to filter out the water.
The pearls are then transfered to a custom strainer for a final sort of the pearls.
The pearls are then washed, rinsed and strained again to ensure they meet the size requirements. Pearls that did not make the cut get filtered out of the strainer.
Curing the Pearls
Once filtered, an all-natural stabilizer is weighed and mixed in carefuly. This step ensure the pearls preserve their shape and texture.
Next, a sample is extracted and tested to ensure the pH levels are at a safe level using specialized equipment.
The pearls are then packaged into glass jars by workers, sealed with a tin lid and placed on trays.
The tray is then placed into a pasteurization machine, which heats the caviar for a specific amount of time at a high temperature to kill off all the bacteria.
This part of the process allows the kelp caviar to last up to two years without any refrigeration.
Once pasteurized, the lids are laser-printed with their lot number for safety regulations and then dressed with their labels and final packaging.
Eat & Enjoy!
Now that the kelp caviar is ready, all that’s left is to savour it. Enjoy!