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Can You Make a Sandwich That Will Last for a Year?

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In the U.S., diners throw away about 40 percent of the country's food supply every year. Food waste is a huge issue, but it’s hard not to occasionally let fruits, vegetables, deli meats, and other fresh foods wither in your fridge. What if you could avoid the frustration of taking out a slice of bread only to realize it’s covered in mold?

Andy George of the video series "How to Make Everything" wanted to put together a sandwich that wouldn’t go bad—one that he could come back to in a year and still safely eat. To do so, he talked to Daniel O’Sullivan, a professor of microbiology at the University of Minnesota, about the causes of spoilage. Essentially, keeping foods from spoiling means creating an environment where mold, yeast, and bacteria can’t grow.

The main ways to stop food from going bad include lowering temperatures, dehydrating, or lowering the pH (through pickling or fermentation), all of which make it difficult for those microbes to grow. George pickled, dried, smoked, and salted everything he needed to make a sandwich (even the bread), trying each technique on each ingredient to compare how they aged.

Delicious? Absolutely not. But safe? Yes—at least some of them. (Note: Don’t smoke your eggs.)

[h/t likeCOOL]

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Food
You’ve Been Eating Corn on the Cob All Wrong
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Corn on the cob is a staple at most American backyard barbecues. But the way we consume it leaves much room for improvement, according to a recent viral Tweet. As Buzzfeed reports, a Twitter user from Japan has revealed an alternative way to eat corn that leaves less of it on the cob and in your teeth.

He claims to have discovered the hack after moving to Hokkaido. There, corn lovers apparently remove each kernel from the cob by hand. To follow their example, you start by cooking an ear of corn and digging out the kernels from one row with your fingers. After the messy part is over, you have room to break off entire lines of corn at once by laying your thumb on a row and bending it towards the empty space.

This method requires a bit more effort than simply eating corn off the cob with your teeth, but if you want to make the most of your meal it’s well worth it. Here’s what a cob looks like when all the corn has been picked off the Hokkaido way.

Looking for more life-changing food hacks? Here are more foods you may be eating wrong and the right ways to tackle them.

[h/t Buzzfeed]

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Big Questions
What's the Difference Between Vanilla and French Vanilla Ice Cream?
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While you’re browsing the ice cream aisle, you may find yourself wondering, “What’s so French about French vanilla?” The name may sound a little fancier than just plain ol’ “vanilla,” but it has nothing to do with the origin of the vanilla itself. (Vanilla is a tropical plant that grows near the equator.)

The difference comes down to eggs, as The Kitchn explains. You may have already noticed that French vanilla ice cream tends to have a slightly yellow coloring, while plain vanilla ice cream is more white. That’s because the base of French vanilla ice cream has egg yolks added to it.

The eggs give French vanilla ice cream both a smoother consistency and that subtle yellow color. The taste is a little richer and a little more complex than a regular vanilla, which is made with just milk and cream and is sometimes called “Philadelphia-style vanilla” ice cream.

In an interview with NPR’s All Things Considered in 2010—when Baskin-Robbins decided to eliminate French Vanilla from its ice cream lineup—ice cream industry consultant Bruce Tharp noted that French vanilla ice cream may date back to at least colonial times, when Thomas Jefferson and George Washington both used ice cream recipes that included egg yolks.

Jefferson likely acquired his taste for ice cream during the time he spent in France, and served it to his White House guests several times. His family’s ice cream recipe—which calls for six egg yolks per quart of cream—seems to have originated with his French butler.

But everyone already knew to trust the French with their dairy products, right?

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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