Crushing Sense of Taste

This morning I’ve been struck by a number of tasting notes mentioning crushed - crushed strawberry, crushed pear, crushed apple, etc. - and this has led me to consider whether the act of crushing changes flavour.
Obviously if you put, for instance, a whole strawberry in your mouth it doesn’t taste of much until you start chewing it, when, hopefully, it tastes of strawberry. If you crush it first, then put it your mouth, does it taste different, or does the flavour just hit you a bit sooner?
Yes, probably too much spare time!


I read an interesting article on this ages ago but forget where now. This is kind of similar:

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Reminds me of a scene from “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince!!” :blush: :+1: :dragon:


That’s interesting, though the way I understand it it seems to be primarily saying that things will taste stronger if you chop them up more, rather than tasting different. The idea that you get more flavour sounds reasonable enough, but is it a different flavour?

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I know that the more ‘damage’ you do to garlic the more intense it’s flavour gets. So generally crushed garlic gives the strongest flavour and whole cloves, roasted for example, the mildest flavour.


It’s probable that if your fruit has a number of aromatic compounds (as it probably does), and you increase the concentration of each one in the air around it by a certain proportion, your perception of each one will not increase by the same factor. So, yes, I think the flavour/smell would change, to a degree at least.

But are the writers of tasting notes concerned about such differences, and able to detect them in wines? I think not. It’s just that slinging in a few extra adjectives makes the TN sound better. At best, the use of “crushed” is metaphorical in the extreme.


I think, off the top of my head, that garlic, leeks (?) and a few others get some of their flavour when the cells are broken down and a chemical reaction occurs (in garlic I think it’s the production of allicin). This happens when you slice or crush it, the more that you do this the more cells are broken down and the more chemical reactions occur - hence the greater flavour. So, yes, crushing will change the flavour that garlic imparts to a dish (and I guess if you put a whole clove in your mouth and don’t chew, vs putting a crushed clove in your mouth, the flavour will be different).

I’d imagine there are going to be some similar reactions in other foods - and the change of texture will probably also play a part.


So extrapolating from Steve’s comments and the others here, I’m lead to the conclusion that “crushed something” flavour is just a colourful way of saying a strong something flavour.

When you say something tastes of apple, you don’t mean it tastes like putting an apple in your mouth and swallowing it whole - if you could! - you mean it tastes like when you eat (= chew = crush) an apple. So “crushed apple” seems a bit redundant in reality.

Perhaps a bit like using water-colour paints, the more water you use the thinner the colour becomes. It’s not the same in the sense of being completely identical in every way, but it’s not a different colour either. Blue does not change to red or yellow when it’s diluted.


Just waiting for the tasting note where the flavour is described as crushed grape.

Gets coat…


I published a paper about this concerning garlic and onions long ago, here is the relevant bit:


Forget ‘crushed’ - ‘crumpled’ is the new kid on the block. In my recent copy of Wine Enthusiast this is a description for Hahn 2018 GSM blend: “Aromas of dark red berry and crumpled hibiscus make for a delicious entry to the nose of this blend…”.

Now I know what hibiscus flowers smell like - we used to have loads near our apartment where I grew up in Israel - but don’t remember ever smelling a crumpled one… :thinking:


Think someone using a Thesaurus here trying to avoid the cliche, but sounding a bit silly, not unusual at all in tasting notes!


Methinks you’re onto something, Nick! :laughing: :+1:

Always makes me think of this:


Is hibiscus what they put in fruit teas to give them colour, and that tastes of metal spoons?

Depends whether they’ve been properly crumpled or not.


Ha ha! Not sure, tbh… My experience is limited to smelling them :hibiscus: :smile:

I thought Agua de Jamaica was made from hibiscus.

You can get hibiscus tea, and also various teas from hibiscus mixed with something, hibiscus and ginger, hibiscus and lemon, and so on. I don’t know if it’s ever used anonymously just for colour.

Others are entitled to their own views, and I have no hard evidence to hand, but that was not what I was saying. I said that the preception of aromas would be affected to different extents by crushing, so the resulting smell/flavour would change.

Ah, I see now where the confusion might have occurred - I meant change in quality, not just intensity.

And I do think that it is mainly colourful writing, anyway.