Cold pizza straight out of the fridge—we’ve all had it before. Some swear that pizza even tastes better after sitting for a couple days in the refrigerator. But after a month or so? That pie is going to be all kinds of fowl.

Thanks to researchers over at the U.S. military lab in Massachusetts, a recipe is being developed for a pizza that can stay on a shelf for three years without being refrigerated or frozen.

The push for non-perishable pizza came when soldiers started to ask for pizza after canned food was replaced by individual field rations (known as meals ready to eat, or MREs) in 1981.

Michelle Richardson, a scientist who has spent nearly two years developing the recipe over at the research center, told AP,

“You can basically take the pizza, leave it on the counter, packaged, for three years and it’d still be edible.”

Scientists experienced some trouble with the moisture of tomato sauce, cheese, and toppings seeping into the dough over time, inviting mold and disease-causing bacteria to grow into the soggy pizza.

To thwart the seeping moisture, humectants (sugar, salt, and syrups) are used to bind the liquids and stop them from reaching the dough. In addition to the humectants, the acidity of the sauce, cheese, and dough had to be modified to stop oxygen and bacteria from thriving.

So far, the pizza has only been sampled by a small handful. Jill Bates, who runs the lab, described the pizza as a “typical pan pizza that you would make at home and take out of the oven or the toaster oven.”

David Accetta, a former Army lieutenant, also tasted the pizza prototype, commenting that “it tastes pretty much like what you would get from a pizza parlor.”

[via AP]

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