Calling it the holy grail of MREs, researchers at a U.S. military lab in Massachusetts are putting the finishing touches on a recipe for pizza that doesn’t require any refrigeration or freezing and can stay good for as long as three years.
Soldiers have long been begging for pizza in their rations ever since meals ready to eat, or MREs, replaced canned food in 1981. Pizza is one of the most requested items when soldiers are asked every year what they’d like to see in their rations, The Associated Press reported.
“You can basically take the pizza, leave it on the counter, packaged, for three years, and it’d still be edible,” said Michelle Richardson, a food scientist at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center.
Scientists added sugar, salt and syrups to the sauce to keep it from seeping into the dough, and they tweaked the acidity of the sauce, cheese and dough to make it harder for oxygen and bacteria to thrive, AP reported.
The recipe is still being developed, but Jill Bates, who runs the taste lab, said she was happy with the taste.
“It pretty much tastes just like a typical pan pizza that you would make at home and take out of the oven or the toaster oven,” she said. “The only thing missing from that experience would be it’s not hot when you eat it. It’s room temperature.”
“It tastes pretty much what you would get from a pizza parlor,” added one of the technologists, Dan Nattress.