Before powdered alcohol: Other food turned into powder

Before powdered alcohol: Other food turned into powder

Turn water into vodka - an American company says its powdered alcohol product, called Palcohol, will let you do just that.

The Arizona company called Lipsmark says the powdered alcohol will come six varieties of single-drink pouches and drinkers just need to stir in water for a shot of rum or vodka or add cola or orange juice for a mixer.

Although it now looks like Palcohol will not be available anytime soon because of a labelling problem, there are other food items which have been reduced to powder with varying degrees of success. The big draw for powdered food is its longevity, but you don't have to be a survivalist stocking up on supplies for your doomsday bunker to appreciate its usefulness. Check out these examples:

Powdered egg

Powdered eggs have a long history, with their production method first developed in the 1930s in Britain. During World War II, they were rationed and became a staple for housewives, as the powdered eggs had a longer shelf life and real eggs were in short supply.

Powdered eggs are produced through a process of freeze drying in a spray dryer, a method also used to create powdered milk. Stored in a sealed container, powdered eggs are said to be safe to eat for five to nine years. They can be found as dried whole eggs or as a mix with other ingredients to give you scrambled eggs.

Powdered peanut butter

If you would rather sprinkle than spread, powdered peanut butter is the way to go. It looks like peanut flour but add water, and presto, you have the more familiar spread for your piece of toast.

To get it to the dried state, the manufacturers squeeze the oil out of roasted peanuts, and dehydrate what is left to turn it into powder.

One of the brands sold on Amazon.com, PB2, claims to have 85 per cent less fat and calories. We can't vouch for it tasting like your favourite brand of peanut butter though.

Powdered vegetable

Why chew when you can drink your vegetables? Anything from kale to spinach, carrots to beetroot, this is a great way for people who do not like the taste of broccoli but do not want to lose out on its health benefits.

Powdered vegetables do not lose any of the nutritional value that you find in raw vegetables and of course they keep longer. They are easier to digest, which makes them a good option for people with medical conditions who are unable to take solid food. In their dehydrated state, the vegetables keep for years while retaining their nutrients.

And for those with kids who are picky eaters, vegetable powder is a good way to sneak some greens into their diet. A little sprinkle of spinach powder in their meals goes a long way.

Powdered rain

It sounds strange, but this powdered "dry water is water" is serious business.

Dry water, which was first discovered in 1968, may look like a powder, but it is in fact 95 per cent water. Each powder particle contains one water droplet, which is surrounded by modified silica. This silica layer stops water droplets from combining and turning back into a liquid.

While it is not meant for consumption, dry water can absorb up to three times as much carbon dioxide, scientists say. This means it has to potential for major environmental applications, such as helping to cut down global warming.

This article was published on April 24 in The Straits Times.

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