What's New? Flavor-Enhanced Produce; Just-Add-Water Beer; Liquidglide Bottle Coating

berriesHow can we make healthful food taste better?  How can we lighten the weight of take-along beer?  And how can we effortlessly get ketchup out of a bottle?  The answers have already been invented. Let's start with light waves on produce because we think the idea is truly brilliant (excuse the pun).


Using Light to Make Fruits Taste Better


The Wall Street Journal headline cleverly called this procedure "Enlightened Eating, via Light." Dr. Thomas A. Colquhoun, a biologist working with 10 other researchers at the University of Florida, came up with this discovery and recently published the results in a paper entitled "Light Modulation of Volatile Organic Compounds From Petunia Flowers and Select Fruits."  To put it simply, the scientists discovered that exposure to certain wavelengths can increase the aroma and taste of specific flowers and fruits. 


It's not a new idea, says the Wall Street Journal, that the quality and duration of light serve as signals to plants, influencing "their growth, color, ripening, and nutritional properties."  To put it another way, ScienceAlerts.com explains, "Light intensity, duration, direction and wavelength are informative to plants." The Wall Street Journal goes on to point out that it's also well-known that "a lot of the taste and fragrance of produce arises from volatile organic compounds." But here's what's new: the Florida scientists have demonstrated that light can influence some products even AFTER they are harvested.  The scientists tested petunias, tomatoes, strawberries and blueberries in 5 different lighting conditions and discovered, among other things, that shining a far-red light (invisible to human eye) led to large increases in the emission of compounds that increased the aroma and flavor of the fruits they tested.


What does this mean for you and the future of the fruit you eat?  The study's lead author envisions a "light prescription" that would designate the color, duration, and sequence of lights that would achieve optimal conditions for each type of produce.  Will this prescription be applied in supermarkets or in the home refrigerator?  Time will tell. Are you wondering about negative effects?  Don't worry.  The LED lights do not damage the nutritional content and, in some cases, even boost it. 


Won't it be wonderful if/when plant foods that are good for us become as irresistible as grilled prime beef, potato chips, and candy bars?


Making a Pint of Beer from a Powdered Packet

Hikers and campers want to enjoy beer on their excursions. But many wish they could get those beer cans to lose that burdensome weight.  How to do it? Simple. Use powdered beer, a lightweight source of carbonation, and a water source at the site. 


The Huffington Post recently wrote about Pat's Backcountry Beverages  and its just-add-water concentrate.  DrinkingMadeEasy.com also highlighted Pat'sBackCountry Beverages in August, 2013, saying that the company "can produce a craft beer style brew said to be comparable to a micro brew with all the taste, alcohol, carbonation, and aroma we love." Suffice it to say that, since beer is 95% water, if hikers can produce beer flavor minus most of the water, they've substantially lightened their load.  Here's a brief explanation of how it can be done from the producer's website:  "Unlike other concentrate processes, this is not just about making the beer and then 'removing' the water afterwards (which is extremely energy inefficient). Instead, our process (patent pending) allows us to start with almost no water, and carefully control the environment of the fermentation."  Drinking Made Easy's page "On -the-Go Powdered Beer" has a video demonstrating the carbonation device.


Sliding Ketchup out of the Bottle


Shelf Life Advice told you about Liquiglide last May, when its inventor was still negotiating with various bottling companies. It's a food-safe coating for plastic and glass bottles (as well as tubes and pipes) that makes the product inside slide out easily.  One claim is that it will cut down on food waste by enabling consumers to get every last drop out of the ketchup bottle; on the other hand, until we learn how to control Liquiglide-coated bottles, we may wind up getting a lot of ketchup (or whatever the contents is) on our clothing, tablecloth, and  floor.


Anyway, bottles coated with Liquiglide--used for foods and many other products as well--is expected to be on the market in 2014. We assume that labels will tell us about the easy-to- dispense benefit.   Products most likely to be using Liquidglide coating in  their containers include--for starters--of course, ketchup and then mayonnaise, honey, cough syrup, glue, and paint.  Be on the lookout for the Liquiglidek label--and keep those ShamWow absorbent towels handy!





Wall Street Journal, "Enlightened Eating, via Light" July 27-28, 2013.


hort.ifas.ufl.edu "Thomas A. Colquhoun" 



www.packworld.com "Fight food waste with new 'structured liquid' bottle coating'"



ScienceAlerts.com "Light modulation of volatile organic compounds from petunia flowers and select fruits"



www.patsbeb.com "Craft quality beer concentrate!"



drinkingmadeeasy.com "On-the-Go Powdered Beer"



ShelfLifeAdvice.com "Kid-Friendly News about Ketchup and Gum"



You must be logged in to post a comment or question.

Sign In or Register for free.