Green sunflower seeds

Researcher: Alec BorsookStart: July 2014End: August 2014 OverviewSunflower seeds, among some other foods like burdock, contain chlorogenic acid, which, under alkaline conditions, transforms into a blue-green pigment. We experimented with these green sunflower seeds and their savoury, nutty, almost shrimpy flavour. In conducting our survey of alkaline cooking methods, we noted that for certain foods, cooking at elevated pH can give rise to some dramatic changes in colour, well beyond the spectrum of browns associated with enhanced Maillard reactions. Peanut butter cookies are an American classic, but peanuts are also among the most common food allergens in the United States, affecting around 3 million Americans—including two of my college roommates. Instead of peanut butter cookies, then, a tray of sunflower seed cookies would occasionally materialize in our kitchen. They would be just as crisp and golden-brown, their interiors chewy and moist, and yet, as often as not, we would break … Read more

Stems, seeds, roots, leaves

Researcher: Jason BallStart date: July 2014End date: December 2014 Overview We experimented with different parts of Chenopodium album, also known as goosefoot, lamb’s quarters, or fat hen. Some kombucha and beer trials were particularly successful. Recipes below. On a visit to a farm on the outskirts of Copenhagen last summer, I had what some may refer to as a ‘moment of clarity’. The name of the farm is Pometet. The name comes from ‘Pometum’, a collection of varieties of fruit trees and bushes, which itself derives from the Latin word ‘pomum’, meaning ‘fruit on trees’. As an extension of the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences at Copenhagen University, the farm also serves as part of the Nordic Gene Bank, which (among other things) aims to preserve Danish heirloom varieties of fruit. The work that is being done on this farm is extremely important for the cultural preservation of heirloom … Read more


Researcher: Youngbin KimStart date: 03.04.2014End date: 28.08.2014 OverviewSik-hae is a Korean traditional fermented fish product with flounder, cooked grain, red chili powder, garlic, and sometimes with vegetables and malt extract. I experimented with developing a similar technique for flounder here in Denmark. I used a mixture of cracked barley and cracked rye for the cooked grains, horseradish and garlic for spicing, and 10% salt of the whole weight of fish for initial salting treatment. The final result is versatile, for example providing a different topping for the classic Danish smørrebrød. Sik-hae is a Korean traditional fermented fish product with cooked grain, red chili powder, garlic, and sometimes with vegetables and malt extract. In Korean, it is written as ‘식해’, which could be written in Chinese as ’食醢’. ‘食’ means ‘eat’ or ‘grains’ and ‘醢’ means ‘salted or fermented seafood’ (Lee & Cho, 2004). This type of seafood fermentation originates from South East … Read more

Bee Bread

by Josh Evans Honeybees (Apis mellifera) have mastered feats of chemical engineering as various as they are alchemical. Their most well-known substances are of course honey, their concentrated, stable, hive-warming energy source, and wax, their pliable, moisture-proof structural material. Yet there are others which nowadays are known primarily only to beekeepers and practitioners of traditional medicines. Propolis (or ‘bee glue’) is used as a structural sealant and potent antimicrobial agent within the hive and carries a beautiful resinous aroma. Royal jelly is what all brood—the immature larvae and pupae—are first fed before being weaned onto honey (unlike the future queen, who becomes differentiated by being fed only royal jelly) and it has remarkable moisturising, emulsifying and stabilising properties. Even the brood are used as food in many cultures around the world and have a delicate savouriness with hints of raw nuts or avocado. Each substance is fascinating in its own … Read more

DIY Agar

Project: Agar extraction from Gracilariaceae spp.Start date: Summer 2013Researcher: Justine de ValicourtGoal: To extract agar from Gracilariaceae spp. and compare the results of two techniques by clarity, yield, strength and ease of method. Working with algae was one of the lab’s first projects, and it gave a lot of results: from developing further applications for Nordic species of kelp and dulse to a scientific paper published in Flavour Journal on seaweeds for umami taste. In addition to aroma and umami, some species also exhibit interesting textural properties – indeed many commercially available hydrocolloids are derived from algae species.In the summer of 2013 I wondered if we could take our seaweed research further and develop our own agar at the lab. Agar is found naturally in species of Gracilariaceae – a family some species of which grow in some of Denmark’s fjords. We obtained some of ours, Gracilaria vermiculosa, from Holckenhavn Fjord on the … Read more