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I am testing out ideas for edible fruit cocktails that I would like to serve as an opener at a dinner party.

So far, my tests have been successful, but it occurred to me that vacuum sealing, or "compressing" these fruits might intensify the flavor and make for interesting textures. Based on these answers: Is there a way to make compressed watermelon without a vacuum machine?, it appears that an industrial strength vacuum chamber is my best bet.

Anyone know where I can rent such a machine? I'm considering creating my own, but before I commit to this insanity, I'd like to explore my options.

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This is an interesting idea, but the question as currently phrased has a couple problems. 1) It's actually multiple questions that should be split up: how to improve your recipes, and where to rent a vacuum machine. 2) The improving recipes part is both overly broad and borderline off-topic. We don't do recipe requests, and you don't give definitive criteria for "improving" the recipes. Are you looking to improve texture, flavor intensity, create new additional options? –  Laura Jun 14 '12 at 14:53
    
Thanks for the comment. You really shouldn't take this stuff too seriously. I've edited the question for clarity (i.e. stripped out all the excitement, joy, and playfulness). –  Derek Hunziker Jun 14 '12 at 15:32
    
Was just trying to help you get answers to your question. You can keep the list of ideas you have if you want; it was just the part about "improving the recipes" that was kind of unanswerable. Since your focus is now on renting the machine, it's a much more answerable question. –  Laura Jun 14 '12 at 15:44
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@Derek Hunziker, also Laura here is an official employee of SO, so it kinda is her job to take this seriously ;) –  Jay Jun 14 '12 at 17:05
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up vote 4 down vote accepted

I think you are going down the wrong route. Compressing fruit will intensify the flavor of the fruit and change the texture, but that's not really what you're trying to do. You want to get the fruit to absorb your alcohol and additional flavors. Vacuum can work well for this, but not compression. When you create the vacuum, all the air comes out of the spaces in your food. When you release the vacuum, the air fills those spaces again unless something else does first. So you submerge your fruit in liquid, create a vacuum, and then release the vacuum. The fruit will soak up the liquid rather than air. Voila! So what you're really looking for is vacuum marination rather than vacuum compression.

Fortunately, vacuum marinade machines are two orders of magnitude cheaper than chamber vacuum sealers. You can get a hand one for $15, but you'll probably have better luck with one that integrates with a food saver or some other home vacuum sealing product.

You could also try a syringe and inject the fruit with your solution of choice. Combined with soaking the fruit for a while, this might work quite well too.

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FWIW, I use sous vide (under vacuum) compression for infusing alcohol into fruit. I've done it with Malibu Rum and Pineapple Spears and the result is delightful. So you can do it with a chamber vacuum and get both infusion and compression simultaneously. However, if you just want vacuum infusion, as you mention, vacuum marinaders are much less $$$$. –  Adisak Jun 29 '12 at 19:08
    
Yes, that's correct. I didn't mean to imply that the chamber sealer wouldn't work, but rather that compression was not really the technique in question here. The vacuum is what's important and there are other ways to do that. –  yossarian Jun 29 '12 at 20:42
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