|By Shelly Palmer||
|May 26, 2014 08:16 PM EDT||
We’ve seen 3D-printed chocolate, 3D-printed sugar sculptures, even 3D-printed pizza — but one thing we never thought to see on that list is fruit. That is, however, exactly what one company claims to have done. The Cambridge, UK-based company Dovetailed has invented and unveiled what it is calling the 3D Fruit Printer, a machine that “prints” three-dimensional “fruit”. It is not, however, actual fruit: instead, it’s a sort of reconstituted version that can be any flavour. The printer uses a molecular gastronomy technique called spherification for converting liquid to a series of gelatinous globules resembling caviar or tapioca pearls. For fruit juice, this means mixing the juice with alginic acid. This mixture is then dripped into a cold bath of calcium chloride; the resultant reaction produces a skin around the ball of liquid, which pops when you bite into it.