- A 24,000-watt microwave oven may reduce cooking times to 96 hours for a 2-pound rutabaga;
- An ionic oven, under development at CalTech, could reduce baking time to 16.8 hours;
- Trial "cooking" sessions using the neutron accelerator at Karnac, Illinois, have miraculously reduced cooking times to 8.4 hours.
The latter method, while most efficient, consumes vast amounts of electricity and can produce catastrophic submolecular degradation [i.e., an explosion] if slight "overcooking" occurs. It therefore seems unlikely to produce a short-term solution.Extended cooking times are only one of many factors which inhibit consumer acceptance of the rutabaga. ARSI studies have shown that cooking times can be reduced (up to 25%) by cutting rutabagas into very small pieces. However, the extreme hardness of the product renders the process of slicing and dicing very laborious and frustrating. With this in mind, ARSI continues its laboratory trials with industrial-grade wood chippers, whose conventional grinding gears are worn out far too quickly to provide a practical means of preparing rutabagas for cooking. A stainless-steel gear with diamond-studded teeth and a titanium core has been fairly effective, but the cost remains prohibitively high. Researchers are now evaluating miniaturized versions of Boreregard, the rock boring machine recently used to construct a light-rail tunnel in Oregon
PHOTO: A modified Hiroller 1250 wood chipper with diamond-studded teeth and a titanium core, approved by ARSI in 2006 for use in cutting rutabagas. A much smaller and more economical version, suitable for use in kitchens, is currently under development.