How to ripen flavours
What is ripening and how is it different to steeping?
Ripening flavours occurs in nature with any fruit or vegetable. As a fruit or vegetable in this instance we will use a tomato and a banana but applies to all flavours that are based on these types of flavours.
As any fruit ripens it develops and intensifies its flavours and sugars hence it ripens the flavours. A green tomato is quite different to a ripe red tomato. The same is with our example of green banana verses a yellow banana. Most of us know that banana’s that have over ripened flavours, such as blackish bananas are great for smoothies or banana bread. Why? It is the advanced development of sugars and the increased intensity of the banana flavour.
How is steeping different?
Steeping is used to change grains not fruits. Steeping is another word for SOAK. In other words we soak tea leaves, barley to malt it for beer etc. Steeping is used to extract flavour, colour and soften what is being steeped. This generally occurs via the use of heating a liquid.
Flavour concentrates take time to ripen in the carrying agent. In most cases this is water, other dispersants or propylene glycol. Flavour concentrates take time to fuse or ripen in these bases.
This is why the term steeping is sometimes wrongly used for this process. Steeping is generally a quicker process and with the use of heat.
Flavour concentrates are best stored in a dark, cool place. Heat will make the flavour dissipate or lose flavour. Over exposure to heat can result in total loss of flavour. Always ripen flavours in a dark, cool place for maximum flavour and shelf life.