User Login    
 + Register
News : Soldiers May Soon Be Eating Pizza In The Field
Posted by Randy on 2014/2/14 4:25:25 (243 reads) News by the same author

NATICK, Mass. (AP) -- They call it the holy grail of ready-to-eat meals for soldiers - a pizza that can stay on the shelf for up to three years and still remain good to eat.
Click to see original Image in a new window

Soldiers have been asking for pizza since lightweight individual field rations - known as meals ready to eat, or MREs - replaced canned food in 1981 for soldiers in combat zones or areas where field kitchens cannot be set up.

Researchers at a U.S. military lab in Massachusetts are closing in on a recipe that doesn't require any refrigeration or freezing.

"You can basically take the pizza, leave it on the counter, packaged, for three years and it'd still be edible," said Michelle Richardson, a food scientist at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center.

Scientists at the Natick labs also are responsible for developing equipment and clothing that improves soldiers' combat effectiveness and their survival, but the quest for good pizza has become known as the holy grail there.

Pizza is one of the most requested items when soldiers are asked every year what they'd like to see in their rations, said Richardson, who has spent nearly two years developing the recipe in a large kitchen full of commercial equipment.

Scientists' efforts were long thwarted because moisture in tomato sauce, cheese and toppings migrated to the dough over time, resulting in soggy pizza that provided the perfect conditions for mold and disease-causing bacteria to grow.

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 fillings to the package to absorb any air remaining in the pouch.

How does it taste?

Most soldiers haven't tried it because it's still being developed, but Jill Bates, who runs the lab, said she was happy after tasting the latest prototype batch of pepperoni. She describes it as a pan pizza, with a crust that's a little moist and not super-crispy.

"It pretty much tastes just like a typical pan pizza that you would make at home and take out of the oven or the toaster oven," she said. "The only thing missing from that experience would be it's not hot when you eat it. It's room temperature."

Turkey pepperoni pizza also will be available for soldiers who do not eat pork products.

David Accetta, a former Army lieutenant colonel and spokesman for the lab, tried the pizza and also liked it. He said having food soldiers can relate to and enjoy has added benefits.

"In a lot of cases, when you are cold and tired and hungry, having a hot meal that's something that you like and you would get at home, it increases your morale - and we consider that to be a force multiplier," Accetta said.

Spaghetti is the most popular MRE option. It has been on the menu since MREs were introduced and it is the one thing that soldiers have never recommended be removed from MREs. Vegetarian tortellini is also one of the most popular choices.

The lab also brings in food technologists to taste recipes and give feedback.

One of the technologists, Dan Nattress, agreed the pizza deserves a thumbs up.

"It tastes pretty much what you would get from a pizza parlor," he said.

Printer Friendly Page Send this Story to a Friend Create a PDF from the article


Other articles
2014/12/20 7:00:00 - NCMC Women Open Florida Swing With 81-55 Loss
2014/12/20 6:55:42 - Sporting KC To Open 2015 Season Against Nemesis New York
2014/12/20 6:47:35 - Mizzou Starting Receiver To Miss Citrus Bowl
2014/12/20 6:40:58 - Trenton Gets Low Seeds For Ultra-Competitive Lawson Invitational Tournament
2014/12/20 6:34:29 - NCMC Holiday Hoops Begins With Wellington-Napoleon Sweep
2014/12/20 6:27:53 - Winston Boys Go Overtime To Win HDC Tournament Title
2014/12/19 17:20:11 - KC Royals Sign Starting Pitcher Edinson Volquez
2014/12/19 17:20:00 - Medlen In, Giavotella Out In Kansas City
2014/12/19 17:16:45 - California JUCO Player Verbals To Mizzou
2014/12/19 17:09:57 - Chillicothe Man Involved In I-435 Multi-Vehicle Accident
2014/12/19 17:04:42 - Thursday Accident Near Newtown Injures Area Women
2014/12/19 17:00:52 - Moore Files For Chillicothe Councilman-At-Large
2014/12/19 16:56:56 - Trial for Trenton Man Accused Of Murder Begins In January
2014/12/19 16:50:42 - Princeton Medical Clinic Adds X-Rays
2014/12/19 16:46:25 - Unionville Man Wins Patrol Trooper Award
2014/12/19 16:41:05 - Friday Morning Wreck Injures Cameron Man
2014/12/19 16:37:52 - Bethany Native Resigns Maryville Superintendent Position
2014/12/18 15:10:26 - 550 Million Year Old Fossils Provide New Clues about Fossil Formation
2014/12/18 15:10:00 - Daniel, Maclin, Coffman Highlight Mizzou's 2014 Hall Of Fame Class
2014/12/18 15:03:45 - Gallatin Man Organizing Regional Horticulture Conference
2014/12/18 14:58:51 - Upgraded Ketcham Center Set To Host 10th Annual Holiday Hoops
2014/12/18 14:48:10 - Royals Add To Pitching Staff, Signing Ex-Atlanta Brave Kris Medlen
2014/12/18 14:31:14 - Buchanan County Inmate Found Dead
2014/12/18 14:26:33 - Thursday Morning Accident Injures Jamesport Man
2014/12/18 12:30:00 - Ankle Bracelet Helps Police Catch Suspected Burglar
2014/12/18 12:27:33 - THS Freshmen Split With Cameron Dragons
2014/12/18 12:20:24 - Tri-County Conference Rivals Split Hoops Doubleheader
2014/12/18 12:15:46 - U.S. Officials Blame North Korea For Sony Hack
2014/12/18 12:06:48 - U.S. Kills Three ISIS Leaders in Iraq Strikes, Officials Say
2014/12/18 11:30:00 - Milan Wildcats Find Struggles At Knox County, Lose Stallbaumer To Injury



Bookmark this article at these sites

                   

Listen to KTTN-FM