Introduction: Outdoor Cooking: Edible Bioplastic Spoons
Millions of tons of plastic are used annually. More than half of it ends up filling landfills and marines. It shall take literally about 500 years for plastics to decompose. In my opinion, the solution to curbing the plastic pollution crisis lies with making edible plastic, especially in when involving packaging. That way, we could simply eat something, then eat the packaging. Nothing will have to be thrown away.
Spoons can either be wooden, metallic or plastic. A majority of the spoons in my home are plastic. It's disappointing how easily these break and need to be replaced. With edible spoons, there shall be no need to throw away anything. After finishing a meal, you could eat your spoon as dessert.
From a google search, I discovered that homemade bioplastic can be made using corn starch and glycerine. This is a type of thermoplastic. Glycerine acts as a plasticizer. I used a few substitutions. Instead of corn starch, I used wheat flour. Instead of glycerine, I used honey. It's viscosity made it work well as a plasticizer.
Step 1: Ingredients and Equipments
The quantities of ingredients below will give two to three spoons, depending on shape, length and thickness.
--1 cup of flour (Can be gotten from a grocery shop near you)
--1 tablespoon of raw honey. (I describe raw honey as honey with no additives. You can also buy this from a grocery store. When doing this, check the label for any additives to make sure it is pure.)
-- 1/2 cup of water.
Equipments & others:
--A frying pan.
--A metal plate and a spoon.
--A box of matches.
--Some sand or gravel.
--Three large stones.
Step 2: Mixing
In a bowl, mix together the flour, honey and water thoroughly. Use the spoon to do this. The quantity of honey used has to be enough to ensure some level of plasticity so as to improve resistance to water, but also not too much as it will make it too soft. A spoon is supposed to be rigid.
Step 3: Heating.
Like all other thermoplastics, the mixture needs heat. Arrange the stones in a triangular form. Put the wood in between. Using a match and a few twigs or lighter fluid, get a fire started.
Bring the frying pan to the fire. Pour in the mixture. Start stirring with the spoon. As time passes over the fire, you should notice the texture changes. It becomes more stiff and more effort is required to churn it around. Turning it repeatedly ensures a single side doesn't burn else it will ruin the final taste. It should be heated for 3-5 minutes.
Step 4: Molding
Remove from the fire and keep to cool until it is cold to the touch. Mould into a spoon-like shape with your hands. If you've ever done pottery, this will be a piece of cake.. In this step, you have to be skilled with your hands to make a nice, smooth shape. Apparently, I wasn't so good at molding. I still need practice.
Step 5: Baking
Put some sand or gravel into the pot. It should be about half full. Bring to the fire. Grease the metal plate and place the molded spoon unto it. Place into the pot. The sand/gravel is necessary if you're using a curved pot. It will ensure heat is delivered evenly to the bottom of the plate since the entire bottom is in contact with the heating sand.
Bake for 3 to 5 minutes. Baking doesn't necessarily get it harder. It is meant to further cook the mixture. The short frying session earlier didn't do much. The mixture is probably still raw.
Step 6: Done
After baking, leave it to cool for a day. It hardens and is ready for use. Apart from acting as a plasticizer, honey also sweetens it. It tastes sweet, nice and with a gummy texture when chewed. It is advisable to eat mostly dry foods with this. It can resist liquids, but not for long time.
If baked properly and hard hard, there shall be no moisture present in the spoons. The absence of moisture will lengthen the shelf life. It should last for weeks to come.
In case you try this an the spoons turn out to be soft and can't be held firmly, support the structure by driving this wooden sticks into it. It stiffens it, making it much more usable.