DIY Small-Batch, Artisanal High Fructose Corn Syrup

Artist and designer Maya Weinstein engages both the industrial food complex and the artisanal handmade food movement with her “DIY High Fructose Corn Syrup” kit.   Created as her M.F.A. thesis at Parsons The New School for Design, Maya’s search began

as a journey to uncover the mysteries of processed food…The DIY HFCS Kit is a way to visualize as well as interact with the food science behind industrialized ingredients, it is citizen food science for everyone, everywhere…The interesting thing about high fructose corn syrup is that the ingredient pops up in so many foods; from cereal to bread, yogurt to ice cream, frozen dinners to canned soups; but high fructose corn syrup is never actually seen on its own. One of the main reasons for this is because it is a highly processed industrialized ingredient created in large factories behind very closed doors. The method for making for high fructose corn syrup was not easy to uncover, nor were the ingredients, but with a little help from some friends and a whole lotta research and testing the Kit was finally created. The DIY High Fructose Corn Syrup Kit contains all of the ingredients you need to make high fructose corn syrup at home along with an instructional video, all you need is a stovetop or crock pot… I strongly believe in learning through experience and making.

created at: 06/03/2013

So, what’s the process behind making the sticky stuff at home? Bon Appetit gave it a shot, and says, “Mix 10 cups of Yellow Dent #2 corn extract with one drop sulfuric acid, one teaspoon Alpha-Amylase, one teaspoon Glucose-Amylase, and one teaspoon Xylose, strain through a cheesecloth, and heat. Then, once the slurry has reached 140 degrees, add Glucose Isomerase, bring to a boil, let cool, and enjoy!” 

The actual recipe and technique is actually quite hard to come by, as manufacturers have kept their processes secret, which adds another level of commentary to Maya’s DIY, unfiltered product. She plans to continue the series with future kit ideas such as DIY Enriched Bleached White Flour and DIY Monosodium Glutamate.

Read more about Maya’s work and what actually goes into producing the recipe in the kit at Bon Appetit: DIY High-Fructose Corn Syrup by Artist Maya Weinstein