Eat Better Cheese With This At-Home Cheese Cave

Underground activity is vital to the world of fine cheeses. Cheesemongers use cheese caves to ripen their wares and keep them safely stored for optimal freshness, and your vegetable crisper just can’t compare. Caves are cool, and, most importantly, humid, keeping the cheese from drying out. 

Soon, you may be able to replicate those perfect cheese conditions in your own fridge, thanks to a mini cheese cave that its inventor says can fit in your fridge. (The exact dimensions haven't been released yet.) Called the Cheese Grotto, it controls for air flow, humidity, and temperature to make sure that your cheese stays comfy. When storing cheese, you’re looking for about 75 percent humidity, cheesemonger and inventor Jessica Sennet told Edible Brooklyn.

Cheese Grotto invites you into our world of optimal cheese storage,” the company’s website trumpets. Yes, please. Give it to me. My body is ready. 

The Cheese Grotto is made out of bamboo and has three levels that can each be adjusted for the perfect airflow for various types of cheese. The wooden boards that support each level in the cave can be pulled out and used as cutting boards, too. 

It’s still in prototype testing, unfortunately, so you can’t buy it just yet. It’s due out sometime this year, and the price is still TBA. In the meantime, the company also hosts cheese workshops and tastings. 

[h/t Edible Brooklyn]

All images courtesy Cheese Grotto

Switzerland Just Made It Illegal to Boil Live Lobsters

No, lobsters don’t scream when you toss them into a pot of boiling water, but as far as the Swiss government is concerned, they can still feel pain. The path most lobsters take to the dinner plate is supposedly so inhumane that Switzerland has banned boiling lobsters alive unless they are stunned first, The Guardian reports.

The new law is based on assertions from animal rights advocates and some scientists that crustaceans like lobsters have complex nervous systems, making death by boiling incredibly painful. If chefs want to include lobster on their menus, they’re now required to knock them out before preparing them. Acceptable stunning methods under Swiss law include electric shock and the “mechanical destruction” of the lobster’s brain (i.e. stabbing it in the head).

The government has also outlawed the transportation of live lobsters on ice or in icy water. The animals should instead be kept in containers that are as close to their natural environment as possible until they’re ready for the pot.

Proponents of animal rights are happy with the decision, but others, including some scientists, are skeptical. The data still isn’t clear as to whether or not lobsters feel pain, at least in the way people think of it. Bob Bayer, head of the University of Maine’s Lobster Institute, told Mental Floss in 2014 that lobsters “sense their environment, but don’t have the intellectual hardware to process pain.”

If you live in a place where boiling lobsters is legal, but still have ethical concerns over eating them, try tossing your lobster in the freezer before giving it a hot water bath. Chilling it puts it to sleep and is less messy than butchering it while it’s still alive.

[h/t The Guardian]

Hate Red M&M's? You Need a Candy Color-Sorting Machine

You don’t have to be a demanding rock star to live a life without brown M&M's or purple Skittles—all you need is some engineering know-how and a little bit of free time.

Mechanical engineering student Willem Pennings created a machine that can take small pieces of candy—like M&M's, Skittles, Reese’s Pieces, etc.—and sort them by color into individual piles. All Pennings needs to do is pour the candy into the top funnel; from there, the machine separates the candy—around two pieces per second—and dispenses all of it into smaller bowls at the bottom designated for each variety.

The color identification is performed with an RGB sensor that takes “optical measurements” of candy pieces of equal dimensions. There are limitations, though, as Pennings revealed in a Reddit Q&A: “I wouldn't be able to use this machine for peanut M&M's, since the sizes vary so much.”

The entire building process lasted from May through December 2016, and included the actual conceptualization, 3D printing (which was outsourced), and construction. The entire project was detailed on Pennings’s website and Reddit's DIY page.

With all of the motors, circuitry, and hardware that went into it, Pennings’s machine is likely too ambitious of a task for the average candy aficionado. So until a machine like this hits the open market, you're probably stuck buying bags of single-colored M&M’s in bulk online or sorting all of the candy out yourself the old fashioned way.

To see Pennings’s machine in action, check out the video below:

[h/t Refinery 29]


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