Imagine putting a pot of freshly pressed apple juice on the stove. As the fire heats the juice, it fills the room with a fresh, crisp apple aroma. That scent is the essence flashing off the juice! With the magic of food science, that aroma can be collected, bottled, and used to deepen and round out flavor in your chosen applications. As an industry leader for over 40 years, the flavor expert team at Northwest Naturals will almost always recommend using them!
But what are fruit essences? Let’s dive in!
What is a Fruit Essence?
Fruit Essence, also known as distillate water, is the highly aromatic water recovered during the juice concentration process.
When we produce juice concentrate, we heat fruit material like the juice, skins, remnants, etc., and reduce it to a syrupy, viscous liquid. We obtain fruit essences by collecting the vapor that evaporates from the concentration process and condensing it back into a liquid.
When applied to a food or beverage, essences contribute an aromatic flavor that resembles the source fruit without sweetness. Their flavor is delicate but can round out and “bloom” the flavor of juices if used together. Essences are clear and will not color or change the appearance of applications, nor would they contribute a significant amount of calories. Essences do not contain any sugar.
How do you use a Fruit Essence?
Round out and boost flavors with fruit essences. We recommend adding them to fruit juice or purees. If you desire a light flavor, use them as the sole flavor component in beverages if light flavor is desired. They contribute delicate flavor notes and aren’t robust enough to mimic actual juice if used alone.
Essences are water-soluble. Add them to any water-based solution. For example, you could return them to the concentrate you originally collected it from. They can be re-added to the concentrate to provide a more rounded and fuller flavor. An example would be, “Pineapple Juice Concentrate – Essence Returned.” You could also add them to concentrate blends. Essences can boost a chosen flavor or add a “top note” to flavor blends.
We recommend using them as the only flavor component for lightly flavored applications like seltzers. It will add in a delicately delicious taste!
Regardless of the objective, essences are versatile, and you can use them in various applications. They are well-suited for clean-label applications and do not need to be labeled as Natural Flavor in many cases. Essences also do not contain sugar and are very low in calories.
Is there a difference between flavorings, extracts, and essences?
An extract is an umbrella term defined as “a solution that contains components of a complex material.” Natural Flavors and essences are both technically extracts.
Natural Flavors are ingredients extracted from natural sources used for flavoring vs. nutritional purposes. They include a range of compounds, including essential oils, distillates, oleoresins, essences, and more.
Essences are specifically the aromatic water solutions collected from the juice concentration process.
For guidance and more information on the distinctions, contact us!
Which Essence is Best for You?
Northwest Naturals offers a variety of fruit essences ready to order.
- Apple Essence
- Apricot Essence
- Blackberry Essence
- Blueberry Essence
- Dark Sweet (DS) Cherry Essence
- Red Sour Pitted (RSP) Cherry Essence
- Cranberry Essence
- Black Currant Essence
- Concord Grape Essence
- Passion Fruit Essence
- Peach Essence
- Pear Essence
- Pineapple Essence
- Plum Essence
- Red Raspberry Essence
- Strawberry Essence
We can also create a blend of essences like mixed berries, cranberry-apple, and more! Contact our team, and let’s get creative!
Request an Essence Sample Today! Ready to craft your next bestseller? Request product samples by creating a free Northwest Naturals account. It is a quick and easy way to gain a team of specialists ready to support all your flavor needs. Get started on your next crowd-pleaser, and request a free sample today!