Test 3A:  My first experiment concentrating using vacuum was serendipitously Jalapeno syrup for use in Jalapeno lemonade and was inspired by Grayfox returning to the lair after lunch with girlfriends and raving about the Jalapeno lemonade at a fish and chips cart. 

That led me to research recipes on line and I found a recipe calling for 1 ½ cups fresh squeezed lemon juice to 4 cups water, mixed with two cups of Jalapeno syrup, made by mixing one cup of water with once cup of sugar, and soaking two large chopped Jalapeno’s in it thirty minutes before straining.

My thoughts were that while the flavonoids would be water soluble, some of the terpenes are only marginally so, I wondered what the difference would be if I extracted using 190 proof ethanol, and then removed it before adding what was left to the lemonade.

In reaching my tattered dotage I’ve had some unhandy experiences cutting up hot peppers and getting the juices in a minor skin break, or subsequently rubbing my eyes, even after a through hands scrubbing with soap and water, so I first dug out my nitrile gloves and chemical goggles and used them both for this exercise. 

Personal Protection Equipment

I produced two versions, the first was using the standard on line recipe that combined water and sugar at a 1:1 ratio and steeped the two chopped Jalapeno peppers in it for 30 minutes, before filtering out the solids using cloth from a tee shirt.

For my trial recipe, I deseeded and macerated two Jalapeno peppers into one cup of 190 proof ethanol and one cup of sugar using the Vitamix on high for one minute, and filtered after steeping 30 minutes. 

Lots of fines, soooo I filtered out the solids using cloth from a tee shirt, and then a commercial coffee filter in a funnel, as I didn’t want to contaminate my Buchner funnel with capsicum. 

I then added one cup of distilled water and let it set over night, after which time I filtered it again through a coffee filter to remove precipitate and then removed the alcohol using an EtOH Pro set at full dial. 

For testing, I mixed equal measures of the two syrups into equal portions of the same batch of lemon juice and water that I whomped up and the results were interesting. 

Both tasty by my own and blind testing by others, and all agree that the Jalapeno syrup made with alcohol is significantly hotter, and the alcohol that I recovered both smelled of Jalapeno and was also hot with capsicum. 

Test 3D:  Wowza, what unexpected results!  The water extraction Jalapeno syrup had more flavor and the ethanol extracted material had more capsicum.  Hotter with less flavor is the wrong direction and the interesting part is that the flavonoids ended up in the recovered alcohol.

Good news for those of ya’ll coveting Jalapeno flavored vodka, as it really is pungent with Jalapeno aroma and flavor.

Bad news for those of us seeking a more flavorful Jalapeno syrup, soooo I ran another experiment by which I macerated three medium sized Jalapenos in a cup of 190 proof, a cup of water, and a cup of granulated sugar.  I used my Vitamix on high for 1 minute and then let it steep for an hour.

After steeping, I filtered it through a tee shirt rag to remove the solids and then distilled off the alcohol in a EtOH pro vacuum still.

Fortuitously I still had enough of the standard Jalapeno syrup from my first experiment, so I used the remainder to prepare a sample for comparison and then used the 3D sample Jalapeno syrup to prepare a batch for comparison.

Voila, A pungent flavorful syrup, as well as again producing a pungent vodka.  Hee, hee, hee, the two mixed together in lemonade adds yet another dimension, with even more intense Jalapeno flavor and heat.

Sooo, what next??

On my list of experiments is Test 3E:  Produce Vanilla sugar.  In whomping up the spiced Asian Pears, I found reference to Vanilla sugar, but haven’t found any available and so faked it on the recipe, and decided to make some.  Still researching on the best way how.

Also Test 3F:  Make fruit concentrate using ethanol.  I plan to macerate ripe fruit into 190 proof ethanol and distilled water using the blender, and filter out the solids.  I’ll then remove the ethanol using a vacuum still to keep temperatures low.  

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