What is freeze-drying? A technique that helped Whirlpool take food to the Moon

What is freeze-drying? A technique that helped Whirlpool take food to the Moon 1

We’ve all heard of the Punjabi doodhwala who adapted a washing system to make lassi. But what approximately the enterprise nice recognized for washing machines that catered the primary Moon landing, 50 years ago this week?

Whirlpool got an agreement to broaden a space meals kitchen in 1960. The US turned into trying to trap up with the Soviet Union, which had launched the Sputnik satellite 3 years in advance. Using the information of American corporations became an obvious shortcut and Whirlpool was making domestic appliances for cramped areas. This was extended to other space meals issues. For instance, crumbs that couldn’t just be brushed away in a 0-gravity surrounding due to the fact they glide and reason troubles if they get into machines. So the primary space meals had been pastes packed in tubes squeezed immediately into the eater’s mouth.

The trouble with tube eating, as Mary Roach notes in Packing for Mars, her entertaining ebook at the practical side of space travel, is that “it calls for bypassing the two pleasant manage structures available to the human organism: Looking and sniffing”. Food pastes would possibly paintings for toddlers, but adult astronauts loathed them.
They hated the following answer too: Bite-sized cubes of compressed meals sealed in films of fat to stop breakaway crumbs. These labored whilst spaceflights lasted simply hours, however over days and weeks, it became obtrusive that much less demoralizing meals had been wished.


This is in which meals agencies, already professional at creating attractive merchandise for clients, truly scored. Dehydrated fruit juice didn’t reconstitute well in the area, but an present artificial drink powder called Tang did first-class — and were given a massive boost whilst the astronaut John Glenn drank it in 1962. Many meals preservation strategies evolved for the space program had been lifeless-ends or took decades to emerge as a success. For instance, Whirlpool blended gases to create atmospheres wherein salad leaves stayed fresh longer; it was most effective within the Nineteen Nineties that this has become a huge business for supermarkets (no longer spaceships).

One of the oddest challenges turned into definitely boiling water. A Whirlpool video explains that in contrast to on Earth, wherein water heated from underneath a pot rises to warm the entire pot, in zero gravity this doesn’t occur, so the complete box ought to be heated at once. This was feasible by the point the Moon missions happened and are why the lunar landers should revel in warm, rehydrated meals.

Dehydration became a key technology, making ingredients lighter and less smooth to spoil. Freeze-drying received a specific enhance from the distance application. Drying at excessive temperatures cooks food a piece, however freeze-drying changes it a lot less. A dried grape is a raisin, but a freeze-dried grape tastes like a sparkling grape that just occurs, weirdly, to be crisp and dry. Many fruits are being freeze-dried now in India, as a part of efforts to save your produce going waste. Bananas, choose, mangoes, and others can be eaten in pieces, as a snack, or pulverized, to be used in extreme-tasting milkshakes. It’s a scrumptious manner to convey the Moon landings into your meals.

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