An edible and compostable membrane can be used as a packaging for water, replacing the highly pollutants plastic bottles currently used. The bubble can act as a standard replacement for plastic bottles, but has more specific applications as well. It can, for instance, be used in running events, replacing the usual paper-cuts handed to runners which create a lot of waste.
The membrane is made out of a double gelatinous membrane. When you get thirsty you simply have to break it and drink. If you want to you can then eat the membrane or throw it away, since it is made out of compostable elements.
This is the idea behind Ohoo, a concept created by 3 young designers based in London: Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez, Pierre Paslier and Guillaume Couche. They won the Lexus Design Award for their idea earlier on this year. Their inspiration comes from the way nature encapsulates liquids using membranes.
The technique consist in creating a double gelatinous membrane made out of sodium alginate (E401), coming from brown algae, and of calcium chloride (E509). The bubbles are then shaped using a molecular gastronomy inspired techniquespherification process: spherification. The water is frozen and encapsulated in the double gelatinous membrane. Thanks to this technique the costs of the capsules are very low, with an average of 2cts per piece.
The main idea of Ooho is that everyone could make them in their kitchen, modifying and innovating the recipe. Since the concept is really new, a detailed and complete DIY guide is not available yet. But it uses the basic concept of spherification and even though the ingredients are not the ones we usually find in one’s kitchen cabinet, it is not so difficult to find them
To make the water bubble at home you will need:
1 g of sodium alginate (a natural substance derived from brown seaweed)
5 g of food-grade calcium lactate (a type of salt that can be found commonly in cheese)
A bowl filled with 1 cup of drinking water
Another bowl filled with 4 cups of water
Another bowl filled with water for rinsing off the “bottles”
An immersion blender (you could also use a regular blender)
A deep spoon like a measuring spoon
Step1: Add 1 g of sodium alginate to 1 cup of water. Then use an immersion blender to dissolve the sodium alginate for about 3 minutes. Then set the mixture aside for 15 minutes to get rid of any air bubbles that may have formed during blending.
Step 2: Add 5 g of calcium lactate to 4 cups of water and mix well using a spoon.
Step3: Scoop up some of your sodium alginate solution using a deep spoon. Very carefully plop the sodium alginate into the calcium lactate bath. Repeat with the remaining sodium alginate but do not crowd the bath.
Step 4: Stir the sodium alginate bubbles very gently for 3 minutes.
Step 5: After 3 minutes, remove the “bottles” from the calcium lactate bath using a slotted spoon and transfer them to a water bath to stop the reaction.
And there you have it! Your edible water “bottles” are ready for drinking, er, eating, or whatever you want to call it.
Inspired from the: DIY VIDEO: How to Make an Edible Water “Bottle” | Inhabitat New York City