Scientists May Have Found a Way to Keep Your Pasta From Sticking Together

iStock.com/zeljkosantrac
iStock.com/zeljkosantrac

It's not hard to turn a pot of delicious pasta into an inedible mess. Forget about it while it's boiling on the stove or drain it and let it sit out for too long, and you run the risk of eating a mushy, sticky clump of spaghetti for dinner. Now scientists think they've found a way to prevent pasta from sticking together even if you don't follow the cooking instructions to a T.

As Foodnavigator reports, the secret is an enzyme developed by the German company Mühlenchemie. High-quality pasta made with high-protein flour is better at holding its shape when cooked or left out for a long time. But cheaper pasta tends to use softer, low-protein flour, which makes noodles more likely to turn gummy, fall apart, or stick together if you don't cook and eat them quickly enough. When the enzyme, dubbed Pastazym PD, is added to low-protein pasta flour, it stabilizes it, achieving the texture and high cooking tolerance of higher-quality products at a much cheaper price.

This means that consumers would need to go out of their way to overcook pasta with the added enzyme, even if they're inept in the kitchen. Mühlenchemie debuted their enzyme system last year and it's still new to the food manufacturing world. When it does start appearing in products, it won't be listed on the label because it's technically a processing aid, not an ingredient. But you may notice your pasta turns out better.

If you're looking for a way to improve your pasta as quickly as possible, check out these tips from real chefs.

[h/t Foodnavigator]

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The Clever Reason Oranges Are Sold in Red Mesh Bags

Gingagi/iStock via Getty Images
Gingagi/iStock via Getty Images

If a detail in a food's packaging doesn't seem to serve a practical purpose, it's likely a marketing tactic. One example is the classic mesh bag of oranges seen in supermarket produce sections. When oranges aren't sold loose on the shelf, they almost always come in these red, mesh bags. The packaging may seem plain, but according to Reader's Digest, it's specially designed to make shoppers want to buy the product.

The color orange "pops" when paired with the color red more so than it does with yellow, green, or blue. That means when you see a bunch of oranges behind a red net pattern, your brain assumes they're more "orange" (and therefore fresher and higher quality) than it would if you saw them on their own. That's the same reason red is chosen when making bags for fruits like grapefruits or tangerines, which are also orange in color.

For lemon packaging, green is more commonly chosen to make the yellow rind stand out. If lemons were sold in the same red bags as other citrus, the red and yellow hues together would actually make the fruits appear orange. Lemons can also come in yellow mesh bags, and the bags for limes are usually green to match their color.

Next time you visit the supermarket, see if you can spot the many ways the store is set up to influence your buying decisions. The items at eye-level will likely be more expensive than those on the shelves above and below them, and the products near the register will likely be cheaper and more appealing as impulse buys. Check out more sneaky tricks used by grocery stores here.

[h/t Reader's Digest]