From INGREDIENTS by George Zaidan, printed by Dutton, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random Home, LLC. Copyright © 2020 by George Zaidan
Consuming clay (or different minerals) to detoxify probably harmful meals is arguably the very very first thing we did as a species that could possibly be thought-about “processing”: we took one thing from nature and—earlier than consuming or utilizing it—we modified it not directly. At its coronary heart, processing is just altering nature to go well with our wants. Now, for those who’re considering, “Consuming clay with potatoes isn’t processing potatoes; it’s simply consuming two issues on the similar time,” I perceive. Dipping potatoes right into a clay slurry would possibly fall simply outdoors the broadest doable definition of processing; it’s mainly like dipping fries in ketchup, if the fries have been poisonous and the ketchup was the antidote. So let’s take one other instance, additionally involving the Aymara and toxic potatoes.
As a child, I might make annual summer time pilgrimages to the Nationwide Air and Area Museum in Washington, D.C. The spotlight of those journeys was all the time shopping for house ice cream, a small rectangular lump of freeze-dried ice cream: common outdated Earth ice cream that had been concurrently frozen and dried, leaving the flavour and (most of) the feel, however eradicating all of the water. Freeze-drying one thing is a ache within the ass. With fashionable expertise, the method goes one thing like this:
1. Get a robust vacuum pump, some alcohol and dry ice, and a few leakproof piping and flasks.
2. Freeze the factor you need to freeze-dry, then put it in a flask.
3. Join the flask to some pipe, then join the opposite finish to a second flask.
4. Dunk the second flask into an alcohol/dry-ice bathtub.
5. Join the second flask to a vacuum pump.
6. Activate the pump, and let run for a minimum of twelve hours.
7. A couple of hours in, warmth the flask gently with a type of pink lightbulbs that retains you heat after a bathe.
8. Wait a number of extra hours, and eventually . . .
9. Take pleasure in your NASA ice cream.
Right here’s how this works: the vacuum pump lowers the stress to nearly zero, which causes the frozen water within the ice cream to begin to evaporate—with out melting. Warmth from the sunshine helps this course of alongside. Because the water vapor enters the second flask, it freezes. Finally you find yourself with freezing chilly, bone-dry meals.
Primarily what you’re doing is utilizing low stress, excessive chilly, and mild warmth to take away stable water (ice) out of a frozen meals with out melting the meals first. Freeze-drying meals looks like a contemporary expertise. However the Aymara discovered find out how to freeze-dry potatoes with out pumps or pipes or a freezer. Right here’s how they do it:
1. Get some wild poisonous potatoes.
2. Freeze the potatoes by leaving them outdoors in a single day at excessive altitude.
3. Trample the frozen-solid potatoes like a French winemaker tramples grapes.
4. Put the trampled potatoes in a unfastened wicker basket, put the basket in a stream or creek, and depart for a number of weeks.
5. Put the potatoes in your entrance doorstep and allow them to freeze in a single day and dry out within the daytime, squeezing sometimes, then depart for an additional few weeks.
6. ¡Y voilà! Freeze-dried potatoes.
This technique is astonishingly much like modern-day strategies. As an alternative of a vacuum pump, the Aymara use their setting: at excessive altitudes, the stress is low. As an alternative of warming lightbulbs, the Aymara use the solar. The Aymara technique is even a bit extra refined than fashionable strategies: trampling the potatoes after which leaving them in operating water leaches out about 97 p.c of the toxins within the wild potatoes.* And never solely is the ultimate product edible with out gastrointestinal misery, it’s far more storable. Contemporary potatoes would possibly final for a yr; leached and freeze-dried potatoes can final for twenty (some individuals say in-definitely). When you have been a member of a society just like the Aymara, having a prepared provide of edible saved carbs that will final you thru a two- or three-year famine would possibly simply be the important thing to your survival.
The historic document shouldn’t be clear as as to if or not that is the world’s first processed meals, however it’s clear that that is processing: taking one thing from nature and altering it to go well with our functions—on this case making it unhazardous.
— to www.engadget.com