Barb Stuckey hands me a plastic tray of mashed potatoes sealed with an opaque layer of film. “We packaged these up over a year ago,” she says. The United States Potato Board has asked Stuckey and her colleagues at Mattson, a commercial food lab in Foster City, California, to devise a way to put fresh, ready-to-eat mashed potatoes into a package that can sit unrefrigerated on a supermarket shelf for months. Just open, warm, and serve.
Those of us who want to keep meat from spoiling for more than a few weeks have had limited options till now. We can cure it into bacon or sausage; freeze it or dry it; or buy it supermarket-"fresh" in a shrink-wrapped envelope. Now Daniel J. O'Sullivan, a professor at the U. of Minnesota, has a new solution that might keep a piece of meat fresh for years on the shelf.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.