Categories
Packaged Food Science

Why Canned Foods May Be More Nutritious Than The Fresh Stuff

When it comes to comparing fresh food versus canned food, one of the starkest differences between the two has to be shelf life, or how long a product can last. Most produce and meats won’t stay fresh more than a couple of days, even in the fridge or after being cooked. They’ll begin to lose flavors, change texture, and eventually spoil. Canned food, on the other hand, won’t change at all over the course of months, or in some cases, even years.

Of course, this leaves the question of how canned goods can keep for as long as they do without going bad. This has led to a number of misconceptions about the entire industry, including that they use a plethora of preservatives (not really) and are less healthy than their fresh counterparts (in some cases, canned food may actually be healthier).

Once you understand how canning works, though, it may open your eyes as to how the shelf-stable food is not only good to eat months after its made, but also why it may be, in some cases, a more nutritious option than consuming fresh food.

The History and Science of Canning

The process of canning was first invented in the early 1800s by French chef and candymaker Nicolas Appert. He developed canning as a way to preserve food using heat that won a prize from Napoleon Bonaparte, who was looking for a novel way to feed his troops. Appert first started by sealing foods in glass jars with wax. This was later shifted to tin cans, the basis of modern canning operations today.

Appert’s process was a form of sterilization, only instead of using chemicals (which is what many people recognize it as today), he was using heat to kill bacteria. This was similar to what Louis Pasteur did in 1864 when he invented the pasteurization process used in milk and juices, but Pasteur was looking to just kill pathogens, or disease-causing microbes. Other bacteria, including those that didn’t need oxygen (called anaerobes), could still grow and multiply over time.

Where Appert’s process differed was in that he used an airtight environment, as well as a greater amount of heat. This combination meant that bacteria and other spoilage microbes inside would be killed and unable to regrow. One of the biggest threats came from anaerobic bacteria that produce heat-resistant spores. The type of sterilization in canning uses enough heat to prevent these spores from ever having the chance to grow and multiply.

All of this happened without the need for preservatives that go into products like packaged cereals and other shelf-stable foods. While some canned products contain salt, sugar, or acidic products like vinegar, these are meant more for flavor, color, and texture than they are for the preservation properties they often have in foods.

Sterilization does also cook the food inside, meaning that textures will change as a result.

How Canning Changes Food

Today, canning has evolved to utilize more sturdy packaging and scientifically-controlled heat. Food processors use enough heat at an appropriate time needed to kill the requisite bacteria or spoilage organism in question. Scientists target specific microbes for each food based on its acidity, moisture content, the heat resistance of the target microbe, and other factors.

More than just keeping bacteria from spoiling food over months, though, canning has other benefits. One of the biggest is that food preserved by canning is often sterilized straight from being harvested. Over time, the nutritional and sensory qualities of food decrease over time when exposed to a normal environment. This means that technically, a peach that’s been on the shelf for a couple weeks has less available nutrients, flavor, and color than one picked fresh from the tree. Compounds naturally break down over time, so this is natural.

In canning, however, food is preserved much closer to the harvest point, and are subject conditions (including that airtight seal) that prevent degradation from occurring as fast. Thus, nutrients may be more available from a canned food compared to the fresh version in grocery stores. That’s not true for all nutrients, however. Some water-soluble nutrients like Vitamin C and some B vitamins, leach into water surrounding the food or are destroyed by heat while the food is sterilized. You’ll see a decline in these nutrients overall when cooking, regardless of process.

The next time you’re looking at purchasing canned food and judge it for being “lower quality,” as its often perceived, you might want to keep the above in mind. More often than not, canned food is just as nutritious as the fresh variety and can last a lot longer without the need for preservatives.


Information used in this article was obtained from: 

Fellows, P. J. (2009). Food Processing Technology: Principles and Practices, 3rd Edition. Cambridge: Woodhead.

Categories
Science Twitch Video

Debunking 9 Of The Internet’s Most Viral Egg Experiments

Some of the most viral videos on the internet come from fun food “science experiments,” most of which are fun ways to transform or think about the things we eat. Eggs tend to be an especially popular category, especially with the myriad of seemingly mystical alterations they can go through.

However, as is always the case with the internet, things may not always be what they seem, especially when put through the lens of a jump-cut video. To prove whether some of the most viral egg experiments were actually true or not, we decided to test them out ourselves. The entire process took over 24 hours, all of which we conducted live on our Twitch channel so that folks could see how it all played out.

Below are the results of the nine experiments we attempted to prove as true or false. You can also view the shortened YouTube version of how we conducted these tests above.

Vinegar Egg Experiment

We took a few different eggs, added them to a beaker of distilled white vinegar, and let them sit for about 30 hours at room temperature. Marinating raw eggs like this for over a day is supposed to eat away at the egg shell and solidify the egg white, leaving you with a bouncy egg.

While our shells didn’t completely eat away, the eggs were slightly bouncy, but couldn’t survive a fall of more than a foot. Since it didn’t work as the internet led us to believe on both parts, we marked this test as failed.

Neon Vinegar Egg Experiment

By adding highlighter to the above vinegar solution, you can effectively dye the dissolved egg, leaving it a neon-like hue. Apparently, this may also glow under black lights, but we didn’t have one available to test it out. As for the dying, though, this one succeeded.

Dissolving Eggshell Experiment

If you take just the egg shell and remove all of the insides, you can also dissolve it in vinegar. What you should be left with is a thin membrane enclosed, almost like a small bouncy ball. After 30 hours, almost all of the egg shell had dissolved, but not quite. Had we given it an extra 12, this would have worked the way we wanted, so we said this experiment was a success.

Silver Egg Experiment

This experiment relies more on optical illusions, it seems, but by charring an egg shell completely then setting it in water, you’re left with a silver hue on the outside. This one was tough, but managed to work out for us, making it a success.

Blooming Egg Salad Experiment

Although it’s more of a hack than an experiment, we were curious to see how pressure played a role in this test. By pushing an egg through something thin yet tough, like a mesh, you can effectively dice it into thin pieces. While this was a success for us, you do have a little bit of a mess at the end from any bits that get smushed against the mesh.

Egg Shaping Experiment

When eggs are cooling after being hard boiled, the shape of the white can apparently be changed by adding the right amount of pressure. We were able to use this to make eggs in the shape of diamonds and cylinders, so this egg “science” was a resounding success.

Egg Bottleneck Experiment

Apparently, cooling hard-boiled egg whites can act like a more viscous solid that allows it to move and transform its shape. In this case, we were able to use steam from boiling hot water to create a vacuum, pulling the egg through a hole smaller than itself and trapping it inside a carafe. It did take a few minutes (a lot longer than what some videos would have you believe), but it was a success nonetheless.

Blow Peeling Experiment

In some viral experiments, we saw people “peel” hard boiled eggs by breaking off the top and bottom pieces of shell, then blowing through one end to force it out. Yes, this was ridiculous as it sounded, and even the strongest of gusts we could muster couldn’t get the egg to budge. For us, this was a fail.

Golden Egg Experiment

Shaking an egg long and hard enough can, some claim, mix together the yolk and the white so that when you boil it, the resulting egg is yellow all the way through. After several minutes of vigorous movement, the yolk simply would not mix, no matter what we did. This was a disappointing fail.


Overall, 6 of the 9 experiments we tried did end up succeeding, proving that while most of what’s out there does work, as always, take what you see on the internet with a grain of salt.

Categories
Fast Food

McDonald’s Is Turning Their Coffee Waste Into Car Parts For Ford

Fast food sustainability is the next frontier to be tackled and McDonald’s seems to be ending the year on an ambitious note with their latest venture. The Golden Arches announced that they’re turning coffee bean waste into car parts.

In collaboration with Ford Motor Company, the burger chain is taking coffee chaff — the dried skin on the bean that falls off during the roast — and converting it into a durable product that’s used to strengthen vehicle parts.

Under low oxygen and high temperatures, the coffee chaff is heated and mixed with plastic and a few other additives and made into pellets that can be molded into different kinds of shapes. Ford Motor says that coffee chaff actually much better heat properties than the materials that they currently use.

McDonald’s goes through millions of pounds of coffee chaff every year and typically it’s used for things like garden mulch or charcoal. Through this collaboration, a new alternative use for the wasted material presents itself for the fast food chain. This effort will divert waste from landfills, use significantly less petroleum, and lower CO2 emissions through the production of bioplastic car parts. McDonald’s expects to source 100 percent of its consumer packaging from recycled or renewable sources by 2025.

Wonder how many car parts I’ve contributed to with all the McDonald’s coffee I’ve had over the years?

Categories
News Restaurants Science What's New

Yard House Is Now Serving Up ‘Magic’ Color Changing Margaritas


Everyday life can be dreary and dull and most of us look forward to the weekend for that pick-me-up at our favorite bar. But honestly, even that turns into a routine as we fall into the habit of nursing the same cocktail that’s cared for us before. 

I think it’s time for us all to pursue a little extra magic in our life and Yard House is ready to deliver.

Yard House has just unveiled their new Magic Margarita in 75 locations across the U.S. Margaritas are a blessing on their own, but this one comes with a little something special.

Don Julio Blanco tequila is infused with butterfly pea flower and bitters overnight to concoct the perfect flavor. The butterfly pea flowers turn the tequila sapphire blue, but it doesn’t stop there. When ready to serve, the margarita will come with a sidecar of citrus agave. Once poured in, it catalyzes an acidic reaction, magically changing the color of the infusion right before your eyes.

With Valentine’s Day coming up, this may be the perfect last minute date idea for your special someone. A new special menu has rolled out along with this cocktail featuring Braised Short Rib Ravioli and a Filet & White Cheddar Melt.

Categories
Cravings Video

Watch This Guy Cook A Steak Using Sunlight And Butter

Enjoying a steak and basking in the sunlight sounds like a perfect day. Part of the journey every meat lover should experience at least once, is how that steak gets made.

Here’s one for the books.

YouTube’s The King of Random channel posed a hypothesis of whether or not it was possible to cook a steak with sunlight.

Harnessing Apollo’s embrace, Nate from the King of Random team set a raw cut of steak on a cast iron skillet and placed the meat under a solar scorcher.

A solar scorcher is a device that amplifies the sun’s rays and concentrates it immensely in a controlled perimeter. Similar to a giant magnifying glass, the device creates a constant stream of heat that quickly begins to warm both the skillet and the beef — becoming more concentrated the lower it gets to the ground.

Check out the fascinating process in how the scorcher cooks the steak in the video above. We probably don’t have the patience to build a solar scorcher the next time we want a steak, but we will pull up a lawn chair and eat it outside in the sun.

Categories
#foodbeast Culture Features FOODBEAST Hacks

How To CRUSH Making Fried Chicken At Home

Experiencing fried chicken, when done properly, is like scoring the winning basket against a rival team in an ’80s coming-of-age film without your teen wolf powers. As Amy Holland put it: You’re shooting for the moon and finally make it.

I’ve tried making fried chicken several times at home, and each time it was just enough to fill my cravings. Never once, however, did it blow me away. So what had I been doing wrong?

fried-chicken-tips

Because I firmly believe making proper fried chicken is something I’ll need to know before I can venture into my 30’s, I sought out every juicy nugget of wisdom I could find.

This includes as many tips and tidbits from friends, professionals, and the Internet, that I possibly get my hands on.

If you’re ever looking to fry up a batch of chicken at home, perhaps you’ll want to stick to these fried chicken tips.


Fry in small batches

The number one thing to know about cooking fried chicken, according to chef Josh Elkin, is to fry in small batches.

“The more crowded the pot or fryer, the less even the chicken will fry and the longer it will take,” Elkin told Foodbeast.

“Making fried chicken is a bitch,” he adds, “But it’s fried chicken, so that’s the payoff.”

It’s all about the temperature

Never deep-fry cold chicken. When you’re about to cook, let your raw chicken sit out for a least 30 minutes until it gets to room temperature. The reason is that cold chicken will affect the cooking oil and dramatically lower the temperature once the pieces are thrown in.

This also causes the oil to soak into the skin — creating soggy, greasy chicken. Chef Linh Nguyen of Fleenor’s on 4th recommends a temperature around 335F.

Chicken skin is essential

According to simplifried, frying chicken pieces at a high temperature lets you know that there is no more fat sitting between the meat and the skin once it’s golden brown.

Because the fat works to fry the skin, removing the skin directs the fat towards the meat when cooking in high temperatures. This results in greasy chicken. Keeping the skin on acts as a barrier.

If you choose not to eat the skin, that’s up to you. If you’re doing fried chicken, though, it’s at least half the joy behind it.

Cooking oil is also essential

Put those fancy-flavored oils away. You’re going to need a fat with a high smoke point and a neutral taste. Canola oil, peanut oil, vegetable oil, or even lard are all ideal. Avoid extra-virgin olive oil at all costs.

Don’t be afraid to brine

fried-chicken-tips

A well-seasoned buttermilk brine makes a world of difference for fried chicken. While salt and pepper are essential you can also add some paprika, cayenne pepper, or hot sauce to give that chicken some heat.

Letting your meat brine overnight, or at least 8 hours, yields some fantastic results.

Take a fork and… what??

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay once shared with Foodbeast that you need to puncture the chicken to the bone with a fork before brining it. This way, the buttermilk seeps all the way into chicken and tenderizes the meat.

Season the flour

fried-chicken-tips

You’ve seasoned your brine, but don’t forget to also season your flour.

Again, you’ll need at least salt and pepper. After that you can be creative with the spices you use.

“Buttermilk brine and cornstarch mixed with the batter to make it super crunchy,” says Chef Aron Habiger of Cooking on the Lam.

It’s OK to double dip

Once you have your chicken coated in seasoned flour, you’re good to go right? Sure, but if you want that extra crispy skin, you can also let that chicken sit for a few minutes on a wire rack so that any excess liquid absorbs. Then, dip it into your seasoned flour a second time before frying.

The result: crispy, crunchy chicken.

Wire rack > Paper towels

We’ve often heard that laying down some paper towels will absorb the excess oils of the chicken. However, the steam created from the moist paper towels will then lead to soggy fried chicken. Instead, lay your fried chicken pieces on a wire rack so the excess oil falls off.

The Spyrou Finisher

Former recipe blogger and gatekeeper of dad jokes, Constantine Spyrou, had this little technique to share if you’re ever worried about burning your chicken.

“The longer the chicken sits in the frying oil, the more can get inside,” he said. “I like to get it to the right color on each side and then finish it off in the oven.”

He says he runs the oven to 350-degrees for both the oil and oven, so the chicken spends about 5 minutes in the oil and the rest of the cooking time in the oven —10 or so minutes.

“It keeps the chicken moist, keeps it from overcoloring, and prevents too much oil from breaking into the meat and making it greasy.”

The leftover cooking oil?

Your fried chicken is cooked, you’ve eaten your fill, and now it’s time to clean up. After finishing those dishes, your oil has now probably cooled a bit. I can’t stress this enough: NEVER dump your used cooking oil into the sink.

If you’re looking for ways to dispose of the oil, here are some options.

Categories
Tastemade/Snapchat

13 Science Experiments That You Can Eat Afterwards

We all love to get our geek on, right? Making science happen in the home through dynamic experiments is a great way to have some fun. It’s especially exciting when we get to sample our creations, because that’s something you could never get away with in the lab. Luckily, through some hands-on food science experiments, you can have your cake and eat it, too!

Rainbow Ramen

Ramen can be pretty boring on its own, especially with that plain yellow color. Have some fun with it like Timmy Tomato did and make ramen of many colors instead to spruce up your noodle game.

Long Egg

This is a clunky and complex experiment for sure, as YouTuber KeefCooks shows. Setting the whites and yolks at different times to cook is definitely not the most practical way to cook an egg. However, the long, cylindrical egg you get as a result is sure to blow everyone’s mind as you slice into it and serve it up. It’ll definitely be worth all the trouble.

Dancing Raisins

HooplaKidzLab shows you how to make this scientific phenomenon happen easily with just soda water and raisins. The soda pushes the raisins around because of how light they are, creating a cool rippling raisin effect. It makes for a cool moving decoration until the raisins stop moving, at which point you can eat. They may be a little fizzy, but they’ll still taste good.

DIY Unicorn Frappuccino

Remember the color-changing, kaleidoscopic Unicorn Frappuccino? While it may be gone from the Starbucks menu, you can use the power of science to make it at home — color-changing part and all. The secret lies in the acidity of that blue syrup that causes the frappuccino to change color. YouTuber Jerry James Stone has got you covered on how to make that happen, so get going!

Miracle Berry Fun

This science experiment actually takes place in your mouth. As shown by Good Mythical Morning in the above video, you can play with your mind by consuming miracle berry tablets. These contain a special protein found in the berries called miraculin, which tricks your taste buds and brain into thinking that sour foods are in fact sweet. You won’t believe what you’re tasting, that’s for sure.

Gluten Balloons

You can extract the gluten out of your flour and pump it full of air to make some cool foodie balloons! Top tip: while Flying Junior’s video doesn’t show this, stick a gluten ball in a hot oven and watch it inflate like crazy. Gluten is a strong protein network that traps in air and water perfectly, making it a great substance for a food balloon. It’s seriously one of the coolest things ever.

DIY Sour Candy Fidget Spinners

Hop on the crazy viral fidget spinner trend and make your own edible version. YouTuber Collins Key has got some fun tips and tricks to help you out along the way.

Making Sugar Bowls With Balloons

Relying on the conversion of sugary water to a glassy solid helps you figure out how to make the perfect sugar bowl to serve desserts in! YouTube channel How To Cook That has mastered how to make these bowls come out spot-on each time, so refer to their video to make your own.

DIY Hydroponics

Harnessing the power of science to grow your own food for three bucks in assembly cost? Is this real life?! It definitely is, and MIGardener is showing you how to make your own simple hydroponic system at a cheap price in a short amount of time. The food you’ll reap from this is easily worth the little effort it takes to construct.

Frozen Chocolate Wind

 

If you like playing with molecular gastronomy, this is the food experiment for you. MOLECULE-R Flavors has got an easy but cool way to turn foamy chocolate into a light, airy frozen treat. Blending air with soy lecithin is the key here, and allows you to make a light, tasty dessert that anyone will love.

Soy Sauce Foam

As the above video from How To Make Sushi shows, it’s pretty easy to turn the usual condiment of soy sauce and wasabi into an wispy, next-level foam. Combining air with a natural stabilizing agent allows you to recreate this cloudy condiment easily. It’ll be an interesting textural change from how you usually eat sushi that you may not want to revert from.

Color-Changing Cake

 

By spraying food colorings on at shallow angles, as shown by ayarel01 in the above tutorial, you can trick eyes into thinking the cake changes color as it rotates. It’s a pretty nifty optical illusion that’ll shock anybody who gazes upon this dessert.

The Scientifically Perfect Cup Of Tea

Ever wondered what it really means to have the perfect cup of tea? Luckily, some scientists figured out the exact formula and recipe for us, and YouTube channel SORTEDfood is here to guide you through making it. You’ll never have a bad tea-drinking experience again after watching this.

Categories
Health Video

Here’s Exactly What Happens If You Microwave Yourself

Would you ever microwave yourself? All things considered, it’s not the most brilliant idea that comes to mind if you want to cool off. Though we’d be liars if we say we hadn’t thought about it before.

So what would actually happen?

YouTube channel Meet Arnold created an animated video to show what would happen if you tried to dry yourself off in a microwave oven. A hypothetical situation is presented where fictional cartoon character Arnold is drenched to his bones. He then wonders if he should just step into the microwave for a quick drying.

Here’s exactly what happens if you microwave yourself:

As you can see from this video, definitely do not try this at home. Modern microwave ovens will cause your skin to heat up and your retinas to burn. Your blood will curdle and cause you to cook from the inside out. Finally, you’ll get a 100 percent body burn and die from shock. Yikes.

Perhaps, we’ll just stick to microwaving food.

In addition, in case you’ve ever wondered what it was like to be swallowed alive, check out this other popular Meet Arnold video.