In the future, rehydrating on the go might not mean chugging from a bottle, but rather inhaling a gelatinous, edible blob that looks like water floating on the space station.
That is the odd vision of the people at London’s Jumping Rocks Laboratory, anyway. They have formulated a method for home cooks to whip up servings of water encased in algae-based gel. Folks consume the squishy balls by biting them and sucking the liquid out or, if they have excellent gag reflexes, swallowing them whole like oysters. (Better have a friend who knows the Heimlich maneuver present.)
The globs have a pressing and honorable purpose: to battle the worldwide outbreak of plastic pollution… though they may raise some eyebrows.
Preparing these objects at home also has an environmental benefit as it does not produce the fossil fuel and CO2 emissions of the plastic bottle production process.
When we drink bottled water we typically throw away the plastic, and somewhere in the neighborhood of 80% of those bottles aren’t being recycled! The process in making these uses a culinary technique called ‘sphereification,’ the water is encapsulated in a double gelatinous membrane. The technique consists of applying sodium alginate (E401) from brown algae and calcium chloride (E509) in specific proportions to generate a gelification on the exterior of the liquid. The final product is easy to make, inexpensive (about $0.02/unit), hygienic, biodegradable and even edible.
Metcalfe, John. “This Futuristic Water Bottle Is an Edible, Gelatinous Blob.” N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Mar. 2015. http://www.citylab.com/design/2015/03/this-futuristic-water-bottle-is-an-edible-gelatinous-blob/388087/