The volcano vaporizer recently seems to have been making more headlines as a kitchen appliance than as a vaporizer for its more traditional purpose of inhaling herbs and gaining their health benefits.
It isn’t the creator of the Volcano vaporizer Storz and Bickel’s idea to use the vaporizer in cooking but they seem happy for it to be used this way and now have a page on their site showing its uses as such.
There are two ways in fact in which the volcano vaporizer can be used in the kitchen, one to flavor the food and the other to release aromas to compliment the food in the same way as a fine wine.
Food futurists always on the look out for new ways for diners to enjoy their food use the volcano vaporizer to stimulate the olfactory senses in their restaurants prior to a dish being eaten: the idea being primarily to whet the appetite and also to bring out flavors that can’t be enjoyed through taste alone. Your sense of smell and taste are interlinked and so in the same way that you can enjoy more than one flavor from a dish of food at once that combine, the aroma and taste of a dish can combine as well to create something greater than the sum of their parts.
To release an aroma the volcano vaporizer is used to release an ingredient’s vapors into a plastic balloon, the balloon is then burst at the table as the food is served so that the vapors leak out and reach the diner’s nostrils as they begin to eat. Alternatively a bell shaped cover, used to cover food on its way to the table, is used to catch the aroma in directly from the volcano vaporizer to make sure that the diner gets the full effect when it is lifted from the dish at the table.
With the flavoring of food the method is a little different: again the volcano vaporizer is used and the vapors of an ingredient are released into a balloon but this time via a pipe into a oven proof balloon that contains the meal: the aroma is then sealed with the food in the bag to be cooked. This is far more effective than simply putting the ingredient in with the food. Many ingredients including herbs and spices only release their flavor when dried and heated, with food where they may get damp and may not reach the optimum temperature little flavor may be released. With other herbs and spices the flavor released from the ingredient in the dish is too strong or bitter and unpleasant flavors are released as well: this is especially common with sprigs of herb where the stalk is included. The same herbs such as lavender or thyme that may release unpleasant flavors also often are unpleasant to actually eat, a cinnamon stick and cloves can be added to this as well and so are better vaporized than included in a dish or fished out after cooking.
The vollcano vaporizer is ideal for use in food preparation due to the high quality materials it is made out of; the volcano vaporizers are in fact made in Germany from surgical grade steel, that is higher than culinary grade: the other parts are made from high quality materials including a ceramic heater and there are no cacogenic plastics: no chance of chefs giving their patrons a breath full of melted plastic therefore.