The great wars of the past were fought with biscuits and bread. The great wars of tomorrow will be fought with some amazing science pizza.
For years now, the US military has been asking soldiers what food they'd like to see added to the varieties of MRE (Meal, Ready-To-Eat) currently available. The winner has always been pizza, but science has never been able to make one that can last long enough to be used as military rations.
That's about to change.
Scientists at a US military lab in Massachusetts say they're "closing in" on a mix of ingredients that let them bake a pizza, put it in a bag and survive in an edible state for three years.
It's taken two years to get to this point, two years of hard work and failure, mostly because most of the components of a pizza - like sauce, cheese toppings - contain moisture, and that moisture eventually made it to the dough. Cue mould and bacteria growth.
The breakthrough came, as PHYS ORG reports, with some creative tweaking of the ingredients.
But on-and-off research over the past few years helped them figure out ways to prevent moisture from migrating. That includes using ingredients called humectants—sugar, salt and syrups can do the trick—that bind to water and keep it from getting to the dough.
But that alone would not help the pizza remain fresh for three years at 80 degrees, so scientists tweaked the acidity of the sauce, cheese and dough to make it harder for oxygen and bacteria to thrive. They also added iron filings to the package to absorb any air remaining in the pouch.
Sure, it won't taste as fresh as one that's right out of the oven, but come on. Even those of us not serving in the military can appreciate the uses for a three year pizza.
US military awaits pizza that lasts years [PHYS ORG, via technabob]