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Analysis and Comment (14)

Grind, temperature, time and coffee-to-water ratio – nail these for the best coffee. Andy Ciordia/Flickr

The perfect cup of coffee boils down to four factors

Welcome to the second instalment in our series Chemistry of Coffee, where we unravel the delicious secrets of one of the most widely consumed drinks in the world. Here we look at how tweaking variables…
Natural goodness. Ionutzmovie

The natural way to keep fruit fresh and stop the rot

Nearly a third of all the food produced in the world is lost or wasted, according to the UN’s World Resources Institute. If we convert this mass into calories, it constitutes nearly a quarter of all food…
The shiny surface of an apple is often courtesy of the wax of a Brazilian palm tree. Micah Taylor

No need to get browned off – edible films keep fruit fresh

Packaged green salad items, such as lettuce, coleslaw, or spinach sold ready to toss in the salad bowl, are now a frequent item in supermarket trolleys. With the ongoing popularity of such convenience…
Dr Mark Post and his bred-in-a-bucket burger. Would you? David Parry/PA

Eight questions that need answers about lab-bred meat

The launch of the lab-bred “meat” in London was a masterly act of timing, theatre, and media management. But now that rabbit is out of the hat, there are questions that need to be asked, and answers that…
If we are going to reduce hunger in the world’s smallholder agricultural communities we need to look past genetically-engineered crops. Flickr/davidsilver

Feeding the world with a mix of science and tradition

The biotech industry has long sought legitimacy by claiming that its genetically modified crop technologies are “feeding the world”. However this relentless focus on increasing food production ignores…
Breathing through your mouth or chewing gum has no effect: the tear stimulus is in your eyes, not your nose or mouth. Flickr/tarale

Monday’s medical myth: chewing gum stops onion tears

The cultivated onion, Allium cepa, is a savoury staple of cuisines around the world. Yet slicing up onions all too often leads to tears: you peel off the papery outer skin, start chopping and before long…
We don’t know where we’re going, but we know where we’ve bean.

Lentil as anything: the pulse of the past is in food words

No matter where in the world you live, chances are you’ve eaten “pulses” some time in the last week. These foods, otherwise known as “food legumes” or “grain legumes,” have been a part of the human diet…
Listening to whale sounds on your in-flight earphones may just, and only just, get you through the main course without incident. redjar

Airplane food tastes strange … and here’s why

Many people find being high up an unpleasant experience. This is not just mountain sickness or acrophobia – it turns out our taste buds too have no head for heights. Taste is not just determined by the…
Bad pine nuts can leave you with a metallic taste in your mouth for up to two weeks. Gemma Bou

Left with a bad taste? You could have ‘pine mouth’

Pine nuts are those crunchy, delectable seeds we scatter over summer salads, use to make pesto and that form the base of some favourite desserts, such as pignoli and baklava. They usually have a sweet…

Research Briefs (5)

Miracle berry’s magic revealed

The protein miraculin, from the West African miracle berry and its plant (Richardella dulcifica) is sold online for its unique…