Food scientists at the US military lab in Massachusetts are testing a prototype pizza that lasts for three years without refrigeration and still remains edible. The development follows requests from soldiers who've been asking for pizza ever since field rations (known as meals ready to eat, or MREs) replaced canned food in 1981.
At first, researchers had some trouble figuring out how to keep the moisture in cheese and tomato sauce from migrating to the dough over time, which would result in soggy pizza and create the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Finally, their solution: bind the water and make the entire pizza hostile to lurking bacteria.
By using preservatives known as humectants -- honey, sugar, salt -- that keep the moisture locked in place, the dough is prevented from becoming soft. In order to create an undesirable condition for mold and disease-carrying bacteria, the pizza's acidity was adjusted and iron fillings were added in the package to absorb air. The final product?
"You can basically take the pizza, leave it on the counter, packaged, for three years and it'd still be edible," Michelle Richardson, one of the researchers at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center told AP.
Yet "edible" isn't always palatable. While most soldiers haven't tried the non-perishable pizza since it's still in development, Lab Director Jill Bates, claims that it "pretty much tastes just like a typical pan pizza that you would make at home and take out of the oven."
Those are bold words Miss Bates.
H/T + Picthx AP