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OldSchoolMeetsNew

Cooking with Activa

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Hello I have just ordered some activa online and plan on making a veal pasta. My plan is to cook the veal,grind,add activa, spread PAPER thin and cool, then shape my pasta. Does anyone have any experience working with this stuff that could chime in and give any advice? Thank you. I have read the past threads but was wondering if this specifically could be done. Will it be to firm?


Edited by OldSchoolMeetsNew (log)

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Sorry to jump in here - how long will activa keep for?

As a non professional a tub of chemicals from say Texturas should last me for life - except for things like Lethicin that goes rancid v quickly once exposed to air. Enzymes such as activa also go off quickly - any other home/experemental chefs out there who would be up to split a pack into "play" quantities?


Edited by ermintrude (log)

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Sorry to jump in here - how long will activa keep for?

As a non professional a tub of chemicals from say Texturas should  last me for life - except for things like Lethicin that goes rancid v quickly once exposed to air. Enzymes such as activa also go off quickly - any other home/experemental chefs out there who would be up to split a pack into "play" quantities?

Shelf life after opening is about 4-6 weeks.

Get a free sample here----->http://www.ajiusafood.com/_zCommon/FramePage.asp?P=TG

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Is there a UK or EU link for samples or are they happy to ship from the USA ?

Would love to get my hands on this stuff to play with.


Edited by ermintrude (log)

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This morning I did not know what Activa is. Now I want to buy some. Is it available for home use (small quantities)? Where do I find it - must it be on-line or would a place in a city like Philadelphia have some?

Edited to add: Egads $88 for 2.2 lbs of the stuff. All I want to do is try Nils Noren's recipe for Slow Cooked Salmon from Top Chef Masters.


Edited by Holly Moore (log)

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OldSchoolMeetsNew: I'm curious why you're going to cook the veal before grinding and adding the activa? I've never tried that.

Holly Moore and ermintrude: I haven't seen it in small "play" quantities other than samples and it really doesn't last long once opened. Even with plannng a large number of uses for the month or so following opening a new bag, I still ended up having to toss some. I emailed Chef Chad Galiano (Chadzilla blog) about it because I know he uses it regularly. He says when they open a new bag they set up a bunch of labeled bags, immediately divide it into 50g portions in individual bags, vacuum seal them and toss them in the freezer and can get up to 2 months out of it that way but he said they usually still end up having to toss some too.

It's a fun ingredient but not a practical one for the money as a home toy unless you can really push yourself to use it up quickly. Maybe plan some things that you wouldn't mind "gluing", vacuum packing and freezing for later use just to keep from having to toss too much of it.

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When I saw the topic, I thought you were talking about Activia yogurt. LOL.

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I'm waiting for some 100g samples. Can its life be extended by freezing?

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I'm waiting for some 100g samples. Can its life be extended by freezing?

As I mentioned above, Chad says they're able to buy an extra 2 or 3 weeks by portioning, vacuum sealing and freezing. Not a lot of extra time but maybe enough to be the difference between using it and tossing it.

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My experience is that if you're very diligent about opening the bag, taking out the amount you are going to use, immediately re-vacuum sealing, and returning it immediately to the freezer, you can get a fair amount of use out of it.

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I've been writing to one of the USA sales managers of Ajiusa and am ANXIOUSLY awaiting my samples... he has given me some pointers in addition to what is on the website:

This is what he said:

"Because ACTIVA is a live enzyme, it is affected by both oxygen and moisture. For this reason, ACTIVA is packed in a sealed foil pouch lined with its own oxygen barrier layer.

The shelf you can obtain, once opened, will depend upon how long the bag remains open and under what conditions.

We recommend opening the bag and taking out what you intend to use and then closing it immediately.

If you have the capability, I generally recommend heat sealing and place in a vacuum bag and keeping it in the freezer.

This will give you the longest shelf life. Six months is possible, three months for sure."

Also, in a different email, he wrote:

"Here are a couple of quick pointers on the use of the ingredient. Please, first and foremost, remember the enzyme will experience oxidation in the presence of air. When you receive the samples - don't open the pouches along the "tear lines" in the top of the 100 g pack, take pair of scissors and cut the corner of the bag at an angle - just enough to pour out the volume that you want to work with. Then with the remaining material - fold the mylar bag opening over a couple of times - and seal it with a paperclip or binder clip. If you have a small cryovac machine - you could vacuum the open sample before placing it back in to the freezer. An even better option is to heat seal the open pouches.

These small samples have an oxygen absorber capsule in the bag - whereas the commercial 1 Kg Bags have an oxygen absorbing film separating the ACTIVA from the oxygen absorber. I only mention this to make you aware if you use the entire 100g sample at one time, you must be aware not to pour the oxygen capsule into your vessel of the substrate (beef, fish, pork, etc….)."

Edited to add more content


Edited by KennethT (log)

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This will give you the longest shelf life. Six months is possible, three months for sure."

Hmmm. Interesting. The information from the people selling it and the information from the people using it don't seem to match up. Chad (Chadzilla) and Alex (Ideas in Food) both gave me pretty much the same reply when I asked them about shelf life and they both work with it regularly. I was tossing it after 6 weeks before I got the information from them, now I seal, freeze and toss after 8 weeks. I'll have to try leaving a bag in the freezer for 3 or 4 months and see what happens.

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Getting my hands on some Activa to experiment with has been an experience so far.

I requested some samples on the USA web site and received a confirmation that they would be sent.

Next I received an email from Ajinomoto in Japan saying that because they only market one of the types of Activa (TG-B) in Australia that they would only send a sample of that. Fine with me - I don't understand the difference properly anyhow.

Yesterday I had a call from DHL saying that the Australian Quarantine Service (AQIS) has impounded a parcel sent from Japan addressed to me.

It turns out that the paperwork accompanying the parcel just says it's contents are "Enzyme Preparation" with no further explanation.

I contacted Ajinomoto's Australian distributor who very kindly provided me with their specification of the Activa so that I can explain to AQIS what is in the parcel. We'll see how that goes.

They also sent me a PDF of a brochure which describes the use of Activa in some detail and has some interesting information about it's reaction times and the relationship of temperature to those times.

Now if I could only figure out how to post a PDF on this forum I'd be happy to share it!

Cheers,

Peter.

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This morning I did not know what Activa is.  Now I want to buy some. ...

Since its just a (the?) brand name of Transglutaminase, someone better put the T-word somewhere in the thread so it shows up in searches or gets merged with another Transglutaminase thread :wink: ...

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My first two experiments with Ajimoto Activa transglutaminase GS are complete - one a complete success, the other an utter failure...

Experiment number one is Frankenduck... I took 2 pekin duck breasts, removed the skin/fat from each, and completely removed all tendons, ligaments, connective tissue and tenderloins.... once the removal was complete, I brushed on my slurry (1:4 by weight) and glued the 2 reconstructed breasts together with the detendoned tenderloins, then glued one piece of skin with most of the fat sliced away on top. Wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight... The result, when sliced across the breast, the seams are invisible and it is impossible to tell that this was ever 2 pieces of meat! Even the fat/skin glued on perfectly... what a great product....

The failure was an attempt at the now infamous shrimp noodles... I was planning on pureeing shrimp, run through a tamis, then combine with the slurry and flatten the paste between 2 sheets of plastic wrap... then, when bonded, i would cut the "noodles" with a knife - like making fettucine by hand from a sheet of dough... the problem was that the shrimp didn't bond - so the next day, I took off the plastic wrap only to find that my paste is still, well... pastey....

In defense of the TG, I didn't weigh howmuch shrimp I had, or how much slurry I added to the shrimp - I did it by eye... also, the slurry was the left-over slurry from the duck which had sat in the refrig. for about 24 hours prior to shrimp... basically, I did the duck one evening, and put the remainder of the slurry into the refrig... the next evening, I checked outthe duck and was so pleased I said "what else can I glue???"... after searching the freezer and refrigerator, the only protein I had readily available was the shrimp... it thought about doing a shrimp steak or other Frankenshrimp idea... but just decided to puree it and try the noodles... So anyway, there are a couple of areas for error here... I'll try it again with fresh TG and measured weights to have a better trial...

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When Wiley does the shrimp noodles, he extrudes them into a 165f water bath. It is a paste until it hits the heated water where it immediately firms into "noodles". I think to do what you're trying to do you will have to make sure the sheets are well sealed (preferably vac packed but some careful wrapping should be ok) and poach them before slicing.

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When Wiley does the shrimp noodles, he extrudes them into a 165f water bath. It is a paste until it hits the heated water where it immediately firms into "noodles". I think to do what you're trying to do you will have to make sure the sheets are well sealed (preferably vac packed but some careful wrapping should be ok) and poach them before slicing.

Interesting... back in a thread from 2005, WD said that it was a cold set product and that they mix, extrude, then set in refrig overnight and poach the next day... 646522 is his eGullet name.... here's what he wrote back then:

It's a cold set product. It can either be used in a slurry or sprinkle coated.

You can bond fish to meat to poultry in virtually any combination. TG needs a minimum of about 15% available protein and virtually all fish meat and poultry posses this minimum value.

We have made chicken noodles, beef noodles, glued scallops together end to end, two pieces of lamb belly on top of eachother, wrapped rainbow trout in pork belly sheets, casing-less sausages from rabbit meat, wrapped chicken around itself, turned flat iron beef into tournedos,etc.

TG really works well and yes it's actually used in amounts of 1% or less.

Have fun with it, we have.

-wd

And then later that day:

You only have about 1-1.5 hrs. before the proteins crosslink into a semifirm mass. We pipe them immediately after blending with the shrimp, allow them to rest overnight them poach them the next day.

It does work with dairy, but we have been unsuccessful in attempts to create yogurt noodles, while a sheet of milk was a success. Even the folks at Ajinomoto haven't been able to help us with our mozzarella "pasta", however we have come up with an alternative approach and will be serving them soon.

I wonder if he's still doing it that way, or doing it differently now, more than 4 years later....

ETA to try to make the quotes more obvious...


Edited by KennethT (log)

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Well there you go. I can't argue with the man who created them. I have the recipe he shared, I don't remember where I got it (Star Chefs maybe?), and it instructs to extrude it straight into a 165f bath. I've done shrimp blocks before and always poached them in the bag, they've never felt set enough to remove and slice before poaching to me. Hopefully someone else will chime in, I haven't used it for noodles or sheets in a while. I mainly use it for construction projects now. I'd definitely start by breaking out the scale next time though.

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The Activa I've used will definitely cold set. But I don't know if every variation of it will cold set in every circumstance. Ajinmoto sells a bewildering array of activa products, and their descriptions of the different properties aren't as clear as they could be.

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On 6/16/2008 at 8:54 PM, OldSchoolMeetsNew said:

Shelf life after opening is about 4-6 weeks.

Get a free sample here----->http://www.ajiusafood.com/_zCommon/FramePage.asp?P=TG

For what it is worth,  I have been able to keep mine after opening several months and just last week used it successfully, i.e it bonded the proteins as intended.  After removing the amount of Activa that I need, I quickly vacuum pack the remaining, and place back in the freezer. Before opening the bag when taken out of the freezer, I let it come to room temperature so as to avoid any moisture condensing on the powder.  I have opened and closed the package over the several months 4 times now.  Not sure how much longer it will last, but I will re-post when it fails.  In all cases, I used a hot set, i.e. did not place in fridge for prolonged time, but cooked sous vide.  Most recently I made a "scallop" sandwich; instead of wrapping prosciutto around the scallop, I bonded a disc between the two halves of a scallop cut in half.  

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I concur that vacuum sealed freezer storage keeps this stuff lively.  I've had some in the freezer for at least 2 years and it still works.  I keep a working amount in a salt shaker, which gets vac sealed and frozen when not in use, and the remains of the bag are vac sealed in the freezer.  Just used it the other day and it is still fully functional.

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Vac sealed in the freezer. I've kept mine for more than a year that way. I like the idea of vac sealing a salt shaker -- genius. 

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