La Química de la Sidra

La Química de la Sidra

Las fiestas decembrinas están cerca y nada mejor que una buena sidra para celebrar momentos especiales en familia. Y como siempre recalcamos en este espacio, todo tiene que ver con la química y esto no será la excepción.

La sidra es una bebida alcohólica que se prepara con el zumo fermentado de las manzanas, aunque también se puede hacer con peras. Esta bebida tiene una muy baja graduación de alcohol (usualmente de 4,0) que puede variar de 2% hasta un máximo de 8% en volumen.

Imagen extraída de: https://lamadrena.com/

El proceso de elaboración tiene varias etapas, las cuales resumiré a continuación:

  • Cosecha: Las manzanas se escogen y luego se dejan madurar por una semana.
  • Despulpado: Las manzanas son trituradas y después se les extrae la pulpa.
  • Presionado: La pulpa de la fruta es presionada hasta extraer todo su jugo.
  • Fermentación:  Levaduras silvestres o añadidas producen alcohol a partir de azúcares.
  • Maduración: La sidra se madura en barriles durante varios meses.
  • Embotellado: La sidra es embotellada y está lista para beber.

ÁCIDOS DE FRUTAS 

El principal ácido presente en las manzanas es el ácido málico. Durante la fermentación n-maloláctica, este ácido málico se convierte en ácido láctico y también se produce gas dióxido de carbono. Esto redondea el sabor y reduce la acidez de la sidra.

En algunas fábricas de sidra, se suele desaconsejar esta fermentación. Igualmente, se puede también añadir ácido málico después de la fermentación para aumentar la acidez.

 

COMPUESTOS QUÍMICOS AROMÁTICOS

Muchos compuestos químicos contribuyen al aroma de la sidra. Por ejemplo, tenemos presente el 2-metil-4-pentil-1,3-dioxano el cual es uno de los compuestos más olorosos. Este se genera cuando el acetaldehído de la fermentación reacciona con el 1,3-octanodiol, un alcohol que se encuentra naturalmente en las manzanas.

Otros compuestos que contribuyen al aroma de la sidra son el 2- metilbutanoato de etilo, que tiene un aroma afrutado, y el 2-feniletanol que tiene un aroma floral.

TANINOS

Los taninos son compuestos polifenoles naturales, bien conocidos por su presencia en el vino, pero también se encuentran en las manzanas para sidra. Estos compuestos  añaden astringencia y amargor a la sidra.

Muchas sidras convencionales tienen niveles de taninos relativamente bajos, pero las sidras más tradicionales contendrán más. Los diferentes tipos de manzanas para sidra, contienen diferentes niveles de taninos.

 

EDULCORANTES 

Todos los azucares contenidos en las manzanas son fermentables, por lo que las sidras son naturalmente secas si la fermentación llega a su fin. Sin embargo, se les puede endulzar para producir una sidra de sabor más dulce.

Se puede utilizar azúcar para esto, pero puede reactivar la fermentación nuevamente. Estos problemas se solucionan utilizando edulcorantes artificiales como la sucralosa, que no son fermentables. Algunos de ellos, como la sacarina dejan un regusto.

 

FUENTE

Andy Brunning (2023). Compound Interest: The Chemistry of Cider. www. compoundchem.com

  

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