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]

Ground Beef Targeted by Massive Recall Might Still Be in Your Freezer


More than 132,000 pounds of ground beef produced by Cargill Meat Solutions were recalled on September 19 due to a risk of E. coli O26, according to a news release from the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. The affected beef was produced and packaged on June 21, so you may want to check your freezer for any burger patties or homemade bolognese sauce you stored away over the summer.

“FSIS is concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers’ freezers,” the agency said in a statement. “Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.”

Cargill Meat Solutions is based in Colorado, but these products have been shipped across the country. One death and 17 illnesses have been linked to the outbreak so far, with the dates of illness ranging from July 5 to July 25. According to the FSIS, people usually become ill within three to four days of exposure to E. coli O26. Symptoms include diarrhea (often bloody) and vomiting.

The recalled products have the establishment number “EST. 86R” inside the USDA inspection mark on the package. To see the 12 varieties of ground beef that were affected, click the following link [PDF].

How Maggots Could Lead to More Sustainable Agriculture


A decade ago, two brothers started recycling food waste into feed for animals by letting the food chain run its natural course. In other words—they got into the maggot business. Now their South Africa-based company, AgriProtein, is planning to expand its fly farms into an international network, CNN Money reports.

Jason and David Drew founded their company in 2008 with the goal of cultivating fly larvae (a.k.a. maggots) as an eco-friendly protein source. Today, many farmed animals, such as fish and chicken, are fed fish meal: a type of feed made from dried and ground-up fish. Fish are a cheap protein source, but the high demand for animal feed has led to them being harvested at an unsustainable rate.

AgriProtein's solution to the feed industry's sustainability problem involves tapping into a resource that can be found wherever there's food waste. To create its products, the company's two fly factories in Cape Town and Durban each take in 276 tons of food waste every day. The flies lay 340 million eggs on the waste daily, and those eggs hatch into the maggots used to make the feed.

Theoretically, the process could have wide-reaching effects at every stage of the agriculture industry: Human-generated food waste that would otherwise rot in a landfill is used to nourish the protein, which is then used to feed livestock, which ends up as food for humans.

The Drew brothers' "nutrient recycling" concept attracted research funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and today AgriProtein is valued at more than $200 million. The fly farms are limited to South Africa for now, but the company plans to open 100 factories in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the United States. If their efforts are successful, the brothers could inspire other insect farmers to embrace the maggot revolution.

[h/t CNN Money]