Watch How Victorian Hard Candy Was Made in the 19th Century

At one ice cream and candy shop in Tallahassee, Florida, old-fashioned confections serve as a sweet little piece of history. Lofty Pursuits still uses a candy press made in 1871 to shape its acid drops and cinnamon hearts. And in this quirky video, spotted on Boing Boing, you can take a behind-the-scenes look at how the shop recreates the Victorian hard candies as they were made back in the late 1800s.

To make the cinnamon hearts, the sugary candy base made with cinnamon oil is mixed with food coloring and laid out on a candy cooling table made in 1891. As it cools, the substance develops a rubbery texture that the candymaker in the video describes as “a bag of molten sugar.” To make some of the candy white, he lays a portion of the yellow, hardening liquid over a hook, pulling the solidifying sugar down repeatedly and folding it over on itself to create air bubbles that will reflect the light and make the candy look white instead of yellow. Strips of the different colors of candy are then fed into the press, which flattens them into a thin layer and stamps them with hearts.

Once these strips of candy fully cool, the confectioner goes through the process that gives drop candy its name: He drops them onto a table from above to break apart the hearts. Then, all that’s left to do is eat them. (Or bag them and sell them, if you really must.)

The candymaker in the video also explores why Valentine’s hearts don’t look anatomically correct, which you can learn more about here (and in video form here).

[h/t Boing Boing]

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Bibo Barmaid
Bibo Barmaid Is Like a Keurig for Cocktails—and You Can Buy It Now
Bibo Barmaid
Bibo Barmaid

To make great-tasting cocktails at home, you could take a bartending class, or you could just buy a fancy gadget that does all the work for you. Imbibers interested in the hands-off approach should check out Bibo Barmaid, a cocktail maker that works like a Keurig machine for booze.

According to Supercall, all you need to turn the Bibo Barmaid system into your personal mixologist is a pouch of liquor and a pouch of cocktail flavoring. Bibo's liquor options include vodka, whiskey, rum, and agave spirit (think tequila), which can be paired with flavors like cucumber melon, rum punch, appletini, margarita, tangerine paloma, and mai tai.

After choosing your liquor and flavor packets, insert them into the machine, press the button, and watch as it dilutes the mixture and pours a perfect single portion of your favorite drink into your glass—no muddlers or bar spoons required.

Making cocktails at home usually means investing in a lot of equipment and ingredients, which isn't always worth it if you're preparing a drink for just yourself or you and a friend. With Bibo, whipping up a cocktail isn't much harder than pouring yourself a glass of wine.

Bibo Barmaid is now available on Amazon for $240, and cocktail mixes are available on Bibo's website starting at $35 for 18 pouches. The company is working on rolling out its liquor pouches in liquor stores and other alcohol retailers across the U.S.

[h/t Supercall]

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iStock
An Eco-Friendly Startup Is Converting Banana Peels Into Fabric for Clothes
iStock
iStock

A new startup has found a unique way to tackle pollution while simultaneously supporting sustainable fashion. Circular Systems, a “clean-tech new materials company,” is transforming banana byproducts, pineapple leaves, sugarcane bark, and flax and hemp stalk into natural fabrics, according to Fast Company.

These five crops alone meet more than twice the global demand for fibers, and the conversion process provides farmers with an additional revenue stream, according to the company’s website. Fashion brands like H&M and Levi’s are already in talks with Circular Systems to incorporate some of these sustainable fibers into their clothes.

Additionally, Circular Systems recycles used clothing to make new fibers, and another technology called Orbital spins those textile scraps and crop byproducts together to create a durable type of yarn.

People eat about 100 billion bananas per year globally, resulting in 270 million tons of discarded peels. (Americans alone consume 3.2 billion pounds of bananas annually.) Although peels are biodegradable, they emit methane—a greenhouse gas—during decomposition. Crop burning, on the other hand, is even worse because it causes significant air pollution.

As Fast Company points out, using leaves and bark to create clothing may seem pretty groundbreaking, but 97 percent of the fibers used in clothes in 1960 were natural. Today, that figure is only 35 percent.

However, Circular Systems has joined a growing number of fashion brands and textile companies that are seeking out sustainable alternatives. Gucci has started incorporating a biodegradable material into some of its sunglasses, Bolt Threads invented a material made from mushroom filaments, and pineapple “leather” has been around for a couple of years now.

[h/t Fast Company]

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