You know that stuff used in cereals and snacks like rice cakes? It’s called puffed rice and turns out back in the day there were some pretty out-there methods for making it. For your Boxing Day, this could be an awesome project if you’re extremely careful.
As the name suggests it’s made from rice. Heating rice kernels under high pressure in the presence of steam, they expand to form the basis of our breakfast.
These days there are all kinds of easier methods to make puffed rice, but the Museum of Food and Drink have got their hands on some neat equipment to display how it used to be done.
The following video, filmed in a warehouse in Brooklyn (of course), shows the test-firing of what they call a “grain-puffing cannon”. We’re gonna call a Rice Puff Gun.
That’s right, a gun used to turn normal rice into puffed rice.
The technology dates from the early 20th century and weighs in at almost 1500 kilograms. Here’s how it works.
The iron chamber is loaded with uncooked rice and water, and tightly sealed and heated with a gas burner.
The resulting steam is highly pressurised inside, so when the chamber door is opened, the water inside the rice kernels evaporates, expanding the kernels instantaneously. The result? Puffed rice. And a big mess.
The test footage is taken from the floor, with the cannon shooting downwards into a chamber to collect the rice puffs. As a picture from the test shows, however, the grains also shoot out just about everywhere as well.
The video is in slow-motion, so you can see that the machine requires someone to physically knock the handle of the chamber in order to open it up.
Who would have thought making cereal could be so cool? Unfortunately modern tech has made the Rice Puff Gun void, hence it now being located in a museum.
President of the Museum of Food and Drink Dave Arnold and his crew are currently in the middle of a fundraising campaign to get set-up somewhere in New York. Hopefully they succeed, and manage to collect other cool machines associated with making food.