Using Rotovaps in Molecular Gastronomy

What is a Rotovap?

A rotovap (or rotary evaporator) is a device which is employed for the gentle and efficient removal of solvents from samples via evaporation, and are typically used to remove solvents from a mixture of chemical compounds.

Rotovaps work on the principal that the boiling point of a solvent is substantially lower than the compound it is dissolved in. The rotovap is operated under a vacuum to lower a compound’s boiling point whilst the sample is heated at the same time. When the pressure of a liquid decreases, the boiling point reduces and the solvent can be vaporized at a lower temperature than their standard boiling point. A cold finger is used to condense the vapors to a liquid which is to be trapped in a separate flask.

What is Molecular Gastronomy?

Molecular gastronomy is a scientific discipline centered around physical and chemical transitions that take place during cooking. These transitions and interactions are explored and manipulated to yield flavorful, functional, and artistic results. Molecular gastronomy offers dishes as varied as fruit caviar, transparent ravioli, and powdered Nutella.

Rotovaps are particularly used for the creation of concentrated fruit juices, extracting brandy from wine, and concentrating coffee.

How are Rotovaps Used in Molecular Gastronomy?

Rotovaps are used in cooking for the preparation of distillates and extracts. In gastronomical applications, a rotovap is predominantly used for two purposes, the first of which being the concentration of non-volatile components in a mixture, an example being concentrating the purest flavors in an orange. The second main rotovap use is to extract a volatile aroma or flavor molecule from mixtures gently and at low temperatures, an example being extracting desired flavors from a mixture of alcohol, herbs and fruit without needing to heat the mixture up.

In essence, the use of rotovaps in molecular gastronomy is a separation technique. Sugar, acid, color and bitter compounds are separated from aromas, alcohols, water and small flavor molecules. This process can be undergone without any impact on food compounds at all.

Scientists are primarily concerned with the remaining residue after solvent evaporation, however molecular gastronomy applications are often focused on the distillate itself. Rotovaps offer chefs and culinary scientists a plethora of opportunities to capture, concentrate and infuse flavors for use in recipes.

Ecodyst Rotovaps

The Ecodyst 1H is built for convenient and high-speed extraction processes. Its integrated condenser, water bath and vacuum has eliminated the need for dry ice or water coolants. It also has a compact design, meaning it would work well in restaurant kitchens.

All Ecodyst rotovaps are environmentally friendly, simple to use and safe. Rotovaps significantly decrease the time taken to extract solvents and are an excellent tool for use in molecular gastronomical endeavors. To find out more contact us today.