How to Make an Edible Water Bottle

Easy Spherification Recipe for Making a Water Ball

macro photo of spheres

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You don't need to wash any dishes if you put your water in an edible water bottle! This is an easy spherification recipe that involves making a gel coating around liquid water. Once you master this simple molecular gastronomy technique, you can apply it to other liquids.

Edible Water Bottle Materials

The key ingredient for this project is sodium alginate, a natural gelling powder derived from algae. The sodium alginate gels or polymerizes when reacted with calcium. It's a common alternative to gelatin, used in candies and other foods. We have suggested calcium lactate as the calcium source, but you could also use calcium gluconate or food-grade calcium chloride. These ingredients are readily available online. You can also find them in grocery stores that carry ingredients for molecular gastronomy.

Materials and equipment:

  • Water
  • 1 gram sodium alginate
  • 5 grams of calcium lactate
  • Large bowl
  • Smaller bowl
  • Hand mixer
  • Spoon with a rounded bottom (soup spoon or round measuring spoon works great)

The size of the spoon determines the size of your water bottle. Use a large spoon for big water blobs. Use a tiny spoon if you want little caviar-sized bubbles.

Make an Edible Water Bottle

  1. In a small bowl, add 1 gram of sodium alginate to 1 cup of water.
  2. Use the hand mixer to make sure the sodium alginate is combined with the water. Let the mixture sit for about 15 minutes to remove any air bubbles. The mixture will turn from a white liquid to a clear mixture.
  3. In a large bowl, stir 5 grams of calcium lactate into 4 cups of water. Mix well to dissolve the calcium lactate.
  4. Use your rounded spoon to scoop up the sodium alginate solution.
  5. Gently drop the sodium alginate solution into the bowl containing the calcium lactate solution. It will immediately form a ball of water in the bowl. You can drop more spoonfuls of sodium alginate solution into the calcium lactate bath, just be careful the water balls don't touch each other because they would stick together. Let the water balls sit in the calcium lactate solution for 3 minutes. You can gently stir around the calcium lactate solution if you like. (Note: the time determines the thickness of the polymer coating. Use less time for a thinner coating and more time for a thicker coating.)
  6. Use a slotted spoon to gently remove each water ball. Place each ball in a bowl of water to stop any further reaction. Now you can remove the edible water bottles and drink them. The inside of each ball is water. The bottle is edible too—it's an algae-based polymer.

Using Flavors and Liquids Other Than Water

As you might imagine, it's possible to color and flavor both the edible coating and the liquid inside the "bottle". It's okay to add food coloring to the liquid. You can use flavored beverages rather than water, but it's best to avoid acidic drinks because they affect the polymerization reaction. There are special procedures for dealing with acidic beverages.

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Your Citation
Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "How to Make an Edible Water Bottle." ThoughtCo, Aug. 25, 2020, Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2020, August 25). How to Make an Edible Water Bottle. Retrieved from Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "How to Make an Edible Water Bottle." ThoughtCo. (accessed February 8, 2023).

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