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Space

What Would French Fries Taste Like If You Made Them On Jupiter? 165

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the crispy-with-a-hint-of-gamma-radiation dept.
sciencehabit writes "Hoping that studying deep frying in different gravitational conditions will help them improve space food for future astronauts, scientists with the European Space Agency chopped potatoes into thin sticks and deep fried them in extra-virgin olive oil, one side at a time, in a spinning centrifuge that created conditions of up to nine times Earth's gravity, akin to that seen on Jupiter. Higher gravity levels significantly increased the heat transfer between the hot oil and the potato, shortening frying time and resulting in thick, crispy crusts, the team reports. In fact, the scientists may have discovered the ideal gravitational condition for creating crunchy fries: The crust reached its maximum thickness when the potato was fried at three times Earth's gravity; any further increase in gravity levels did not improve the fries' crispiness."
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What Would French Fries Taste Like If You Made Them On Jupiter?

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  • by stox (131684) on Monday December 30, 2013 @10:06PM (#45825325) Homepage

    French fries did not originate on Earth, but were brought here by benevolent Aliens in the past.

    I, for one, would welcome the return of out benefactors!

  • Ig Nobel Prize? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bunyip (17018) on Monday December 30, 2013 @10:08PM (#45825335)

    Surely this research is a leading candidate!

    • Up there with belly button fluff studies IMHO

    • Ig Nobel Prize?

      Surely this research is a leading candidate!

      Or, with some of the "try this at home" do it yourself amateurs, possibly even a Darwin Award.

    • by tibit (1762298)

      I read about it a few days ago and I couldn't resist. With potatoes I have, 4g seems to be a sweet spot. I've had a 50A slip ring with a bearing/axle set laying about, and I've actually put an off-the-shelf deep fryer on an arm made of some scrap right angle. Works fine. Yum!

  • by raymorris (2726007) on Monday December 30, 2013 @10:10PM (#45825355)

    Am I the only Slashdotter thinking of trying this? The clothes washer on spin would be too big. Maybe put a faster motor on my ice cream maker and pour in some hot oil...

  • Jupiter Fries (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RandomUsername99 (574692) on Monday December 30, 2013 @10:10PM (#45825365)

    So at work, they've got a food stand outside that does made-to-order liquid nitrogen ice cream. I think that a "Jupiter Fries" truck would fit in quite nicely.

    • by gordo3000 (785698)

      where do you work that has something that cool outside? That has to be a hit, especially on bring your kid to work day.

  • ...someone has way too much free time. But then, I thought. Extra crispy fries. Mmmmm.... I'm sorry, what was I saying?

  • by tpstigers (1075021) on Monday December 30, 2013 @10:17PM (#45825411)
    I'd be busy having the life squeezed out of me by the gravity.
  • by turkeydance (1266624) on Monday December 30, 2013 @10:19PM (#45825431)
    even those you don't know about.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    If watching astronauts on YouTube are telling the truth, then getting them to be able to taste flavors other than spicy would seem to be more important than texture.

  • Jupiter is 9? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Wolfger (96957) <[wolfger] [at] [gmail.com]> on Monday December 30, 2013 @10:24PM (#45825467) Homepage
    Every source I've found says it's 2.53, where did these people come up with 9? Nonetheless, I am looking forward to trying some high-gravity fries. Sounds delicious.
    • Re:Jupiter is 9? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Dahamma (304068) on Monday December 30, 2013 @11:42PM (#45825991)

      Not only are you correct, but TFA didn't even mention Jupiter. The submitter made that part up and got it completely wrong...

      • by slew (2918)

        Perhaps someone thought that since Jupiter's diameter is about 10x earth, it would have 10x the gravity?

        Given g = G*m*(M/r^2)

        If somehow the density of Jupiter was similar to earth...

        Me = De*4*pi*re^3
        Mj = De*4*pi*rj^3

        The force of gravity experienced by a mass at the surface would be...

        ge = G*m*(Me/re^2) = G*m*(De*4*pi*re/3)
        gj = G*m*(Mj/rj^2) = G*m*(De*4*pi*rj/3) (proportional to the radius or diameter)

        But of course, Jupiter is much less dense than the earth, so that analysis is totally bogus...

  • by techno-vampire (666512) on Monday December 30, 2013 @10:33PM (#45825533) Homepage
    Deep frying, of course, is quite literally boiling in oil. As the boiling point is dependent on the pressure, they might want to consider putting the fryer in a pressure vessel that can handle several atmospheres. (No, I don't think a broaster is built for that.) Of course, that may well take the boiling point above the smoke point, so you may want to fill the container with nitrogen or possibly carbon dioxide.
    • by raymorris (2726007) on Monday December 30, 2013 @10:45PM (#45825605)

      That's a good idea. So good that you could make millions of dollars from it, like Colonel Sanders did.

      • by mirix (1649853)

        Sanders' isn't a deep fryer though, or at least it wasn't. The whole point is he didn't want the chicken to be deep fried, but pan fried (which was too bloody slow)... Hence the compromise of pressure-pan frying.

        Never worked at a KFC, so I'm googling it, and it sure looks like a deep fryer, though...

        • I'm pretty sure they use Henny Penny fryersm

          http://www.hennypenny.com/products/frying/pressure-fryers/ [hennypenny.com]

          The problem with open deep frying is that as the moisture within the meat boils, it bursts out as little steam explosions popping through the coating. Sealing the deep fryer to create pressure keeps the moisture inside. Because the steam doesn't escape in a pressure fryer, the hot steam goes into the meat, cooking the center more quickly.

          • The steam still comes out of the chicken. What do you think creates the pressure? The pressure raises the boiling point of water, just like in a regular pressure cooker. The chicken, being mostly water, reaches a higher internal temperature than it would without being pressurized, making the meat more tender.

    • by mirix (1649853)

      The oil isn't boiling though, is it? Doesn't oil smoke before it boils... at least at 1 atm? Since it is hotter than 100C, anything with water in it (say food) added to the fryer 'boils' instantly though.

      Since the oil is already much hotter than water's boiling point, I don't see any advantage to increasing the pressure? Except keeping the boiling water in the food item a tad longer, I guess...?

    • by adolf (21054)

      Spoken as someone who has never, ever deep-fried anything.

      Remember, kids, cooking oil does not boil at the temperatures used for deep frying.

      • by polymath69 (94161)
        Parent didn't say the oil boils, s/he said there was boiling going on (the water in the food) in oil. Which is quite correct.
        • by adolf (21054)

          Parent said "boiled in oil"

          In common culinary parlance, there is a term for this. It is called "deep frying," not boiling.

          Boiled potatoes (wherein the potatoes are submersed in water that is boiling) are a very, very different thing from deep-fried potatoes (wherein the potatoes are submersed in hot oil or fat that is not boiling).

          It seems to me that these are simple, exclusive, and adequately descriptive terms.

  • Harumph. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ApplePy (2703131) on Monday December 30, 2013 @10:34PM (#45825535)

    Fat lot of good it does if you can't *grow* potatoes in 9x Earth gravity.

    If they can grow potatoes in their centrifuge... then we have a useful study. :)

    • by rossdee (243626)

      I guess you import the potatoes from Earth.
      You can synthesize the oil from the Jovian atmosphere.
      But its gonna be expensive just to get there yourself.

      Next up, how to cook a burger on Venus...
      (oh wait, its already cooked, and so are you)

      • Re:Harumph. (Score:4, Informative)

        by FatLittleMonkey (1341387) on Monday December 30, 2013 @11:32PM (#45825919)

        Next up, how to cook a burger on Venus...

        Actually, Venus is better for roasting. The sulphuric acid helps tenderise the meat. You can customise the temperature by floating the meat at a specific altitude. Diners themselves float at about 55km.

        (Mercury is for burgers.)

      • Re:Harumph. (Score:4, Informative)

        by Dahamma (304068) on Monday December 30, 2013 @11:49PM (#45826033)

        Well, when reading TFA my first question was "why bother frying the fries anyway, why not just bake them!?"

        But that's because the article had absolutely ZERO to do with cooking fries on Jupiter. Jupiter is completely inhospitable to human life and there would be no reason to have humans live on the surface. Jupiter isn't even mentioned in the article, that was a stupid (and incorrect) addition by the submitter.

        The ACTUAL point of the study was that cooking in *zero* gravity brings up a bunch of challenges (ie. cooking with oil in zero G!) so they wanted to figure out what levels of artificial gravity would be acceptable/ideal for deep frying.

  • Olive oil? (Score:5, Informative)

    by sochdot (864131) on Monday December 30, 2013 @10:36PM (#45825549) Journal
    I would think olive oil a poor choice for making french fries. In general, olive oil has too low of a smoke point; it just doesn't get hot enough to fry things well. Maybe the increased pressure made a lower oil temp better? I was always taught to use olive oil as a flavoring on pastas, salads, bread, etc. but never for actual hot-oil-cooking.
    • I was always taught to use olive oil as a flavoring on pastas, salads, bread, etc. but never for actual hot-oil-cooking.

      Then you weren't taught very well as olive oil is routinely used for for sauteing. A mixture of olive oil and butter (both low temperature oils) is commonly used in classical French cuisine.

      • That may be, but if you want truly great fries use suet. It may kill you, but at least you'll die happy.

        • That may be, but if you want truly great fries use suet. It may kill you, but at least you'll die happy.

          Saturated fats won't kill you - omega 6's and hydrogenated vegetable oils will. Full disclosure: I've recently started rendering my own lard from fatback with crockpots. The home-made Bisquick substitute makes better 5-minute biscuits than the factory stuff.

          • Home-rendered lard rocks.
            • Home-rendered lard rocks.

              Yeah, I'm a bit concerned with the resurgence of lard because all of it that you can buy in the grocery store is hydrogenated. Not the droid we're looking for.

          • by Reziac (43301) *

            Any tips to pass along?

            I'm thinking about getting a few pigs, and the breed I've taken a shine to is a lard pig, so...

            • I don't know about pig breeds yet (on the list...) but as far as the lard, I chopped up the fat into cubes, per 'net directions, but then I had to squeeze all the cooked chunks to get the lard out which was a pain. 1 qt was free floating, but 1.5 qts were trapped in the chunks. Next time I'm going to run it thorough the meat grinder first to increase the surface area.

              I did 10 hrs on low, with 1 cup of water added to get it started. The water evaporates. Yield on 5 lbs of fatback was 4.5lbs of lard, so t

              • by Reziac (43301) *

                Thanks for the info. Grinding it does sound like a better way to go, and probably less work. I'm thinkin' you might adapt a wringer washer to squeeze it out.

                I've cooked fat for the dogs but wasn't looking to pull out lard so hadn't looked into maximizing it. And yeah, the flavor is a feature. :) Costco used to have this wonderful low-salt bacon that I'd buy mostly for the grease -- great on toast!

                Here's a good quick breeds resource:
                http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/breeds/swine/ [okstate.edu]
                My neighbor got some Mukotas -- th

                • Super, thanks for the link. I'm still two years out from being able to keep them, but I'll save the data. Biting pigs? If they get too bad, I'll shoot them and eat them. ;)

                  • by Reziac (43301) *

                    Smacked 'em and they gave it up, at least with me (they're pretty friendly pigs, overall). I taught their other pigs MOVE with an appropriate blunt instrument, and boy do they when I say so. Don't even crowd the feed bunk anymore, at least when it's me feeding 'em. :D

                    (Actually I'm not sure if they're Mukotas or Guineas. They're a little big to be Guineas, tho.)

                    The other pigs they have that I like are a lean type, black and white mottled, not sure what breed. The boar was bottle raised and even so he's real

      • Then you weren't taught very well as olive oil is routinely used for for sauteing.

        Oilve oil is terrific for sauteing, but French fries aren't sauteed, they're deep-fat fried. The temps are higher, which informs your choice of oils (especially if your tolerances aren't very tight).

      • Sauteing is (relatively) low temperature oil cooking. That is, around 150C, vs frying which is usually around 210-230C depending on what it is.
        • Sauteing is (relatively) low temperature oil cooking. That is, around 150C, vs frying which is usually around 210-230C depending on what it is.

          Um, no. Like the OP, you're badly misinformed about cooking techniques. French fries cook at around 150-175C, as do other items. Frying temperatures range widely depending on the food being cooked.

          • Sauteing is (relatively) low temperature oil cooking. That is, around 150C, vs frying which is usually around 210-230C depending on what it is.

            Um, no. Like the OP, you're badly misinformed about cooking techniques. French fries cook at around 150-175C, as do other items. Frying temperatures range widely depending on the food being cooked.

            The word sauté comes from the same root as somersault. Because part of the technique is to periodically flip the contents of the pan, thus ensuring that all surfaces get jumbled instead of same-side down like stirring tends to produce and because it helps distribute the cooking oil more evenly on the food.

            For those prone to decorate walls, ceiling and floor, however, one should make due with a suitable weapon of destruction such as a spatula or spoon and do the jumbling manually.

            And while I haven't col

      • I was always taught to use olive oil as a flavoring on pastas, salads, bread, etc. but never for actual hot-oil-cooking.

        Then you weren't taught very well as olive oil is routinely used for for sauteing. A mixture of olive oil and butter (both low temperature oils) is commonly used in classical French cuisine.

        With certain exceptions if you cook with olive oil, you don't want EVOO, which smokes at a lower temperature.

        French cooking is often done with clarified butter, which has the most burnable parts removed as part of the clarification process (likewise with Indian ghee). Another option is "browned butter", where the burnables (milk solids) are raised to a high enough temperature to toast them while not actually turning them into charcoal.

        Technically, of course even clarified butter is "burnable". But it can s

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by benlwilson (983210)

      It's a complete myth that olive oil has a smoke point too low to fry with.

      The smoke point of oils varies by oil type and by how refined it is
      Here's some examples of oils people use for deep frying.
      - Canola oil 190 - 204C (375 - 475F)
      - Sunflower oil 107 - 232C (225 - 450F)
      - Peanut oil 232C (450F)
      - Tallow 215C (420F)

      And here is olive oils..
      - Extra virgin olive oil 191C (375F)
      - Extra light olive oil 242C (468F)

      Normally you deep fry stuff around 175C (350F) which is fine for

    • I would think olive oil a poor choice for making french fries. In general, olive oil has too low of a smoke point; it just doesn't get hot enough to fry things well. Maybe the increased pressure made a lower oil temp better? I was always taught to use olive oil as a flavoring on pastas, salads, bread, etc. but never for actual hot-oil-cooking.

      It is a poor choice. Best I've found that is readily available is peanut oil. Of course, if you can find it, you could use what McDonalds used to cook their fries in and use beef tallow.

    • Bake the fries. Never had olive oil coated fries smoking in my oven. Much healthier. There is a reason to pay good money for good oils. One of the worlds oldest cultivated crops can't be wrong!

      • by gmhowell (26755)

        Bake the fries.

        I bet you think sex with a condom is just as good as bareback.

        Oh, wait, slashdot:

        I bet you think masturbation is just as good as sex with another person.

  • by maz2331 (1104901)

    You can't fry anything on Jupiter. It doesn't have a solid surface to stand on.

  • by symbolset (646467) * on Monday December 30, 2013 @10:48PM (#45825623) Journal
    If ever there was an article begging for a "hot oil on Uranus" comment, this is it.
  • I have a bad feeling about this...

  • I'm creating a fast food joint that just sells centrifuged french fries. This is AWESOME!!!!

  • by jcr (53032) <jcr.mac@com> on Monday December 30, 2013 @11:51PM (#45826043) Journal

    You could just use higher pressure.

    -jcr

  • Fry something.

  • ...If you made them on Jupiter?

    I suppose we can assume that there is somehow a way to remain on the "surface" of the atmosphere, since Jupiter obviously has no surface that we could build anything to withstand the pressures of. And overcome the issues with the 400 mph upper atmospheric wind speed. For the purpose of weight savings, we can also assume that the fryer will not be made of stainless steel like a normal fryer would be. This is also a good thing as the magnetic field at this distance is estimated

  • If the fries are too tasty, you become Jupiter.

  • The TFA says nothing about the oil other than it was hot, and the words "virgin" and "olive" do not occur anywhere.

    And as someone else noted, Jupiter is about 2.5 times Earth's gravity, not 9 as the submitter implies.

    Slashdot now runs Enquirer headlines, I guess. Sheesh.

  • The thicker the crust and the higher the temperature, the more Acrylamide is formed.

    For those unaware that they are eating a neurotoxin damaging your male parts when consuming chips, coffee and french fries: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acrylamide [wikipedia.org]

    One woud think the bright guys at NASA would take this into consideration before exposing their expensive astronauts to this stuff.

  • by Shoten (260439) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @10:54AM (#45829263)

    No! Not French Fries! Freedom Fries! Remember 9/11!

    Also, not French Kissing! Freedom kissing! NO TONGUE, OR THE TERRORISTS WIN!

    (Sorry...apparently I've been possessed by the ghost of Ann Coulter's career. I have someone with common sense and knowledge of facts coming to perform an exorcism later today.)

  • It seems the factor was the amount of pressure between the fry and the oil. You could probably accomplish the same thing by submerging the fry in 2 ft of cooking oil rather than floating them on the surface. Not as much fun though.

    I concur about not cooking with olive oil - that's for cold dishes since heat destroys it. Cook with natural peanut or coconut oil, or lard for bacon flavor fries. Avoid the chemically refined and stripped vegetable oils.

  • Like Uranus, of course.
  • by Optali (809880) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @08:03AM (#45844659) Homepage

    Well, this will definitely become the mayor incentive for the Human Colonization of Space: Building snack and fast food factories in Jupiter and Saturn...
    Instead of a the a war between the Federation and the Klingon Empire we will end up with Doritos vs. Pringles and a Starbucks on every asteroid.

    And the worst of it is that it perfectly fits all what already happened with each and every technology util now: Instead of intelligent supercomputers dedicated to advanced science and pure mathematics we have Facebook and porn, instead of flying in UFO at light speed in nice Starfleet uniforms we have fat moms driving their ugly kids to school in an SUV... shit, and the only Androids that we have are nothing more than crappy cordless phones with a few more functions. Shit, shit, shit.

    We should be drinking Vulcanian ale right now in a Klingon tavern :_(

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