Science teachers often use oranges to demonstrate the techniques that Egyptians used to mummify bodies. The ancient Egyptians are known for their effective methods of preserving the deceased. Mummified tissue dries quickly and deteriorates at a slower rate than untreated cells. Orange peels work similarly to the bandaged human skin of a mummy as they allow moisture to pass through. A fresh orange can be mummified with common household products to prevent mould and preserve its appearance.
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Things you need
- Wide-mouth glass quart jar and lid
- Liquid dish soap
- Baking soda
Clean the jar and lid thoroughly with liquid dish soap and the hottest water you can stand. Dry all the surfaces of the jar and lid.
Add baking soda to the clean glass jar until it is approximately 1 inch deep. Select an orange without any bruises or soft spots. Lower the selected orange onto the pile of baking soda.
Pour baking soda into the jar until the orange is completely covered. Screw the lid onto the jar securely. Place the sealed jar in a cool, dark and dry area for one week.
Remove the used baking soda from the jar. Refill the jar with new baking soda until the orange is completely covered. Set the jar back in the drying area for another week.
Repeat the refill and dry process until all the moisture has been removed from the orange. The oils in the skin help it to maintain pliability and give the exterior of the mummified orange a leathery feel.
Tips and warnings
- An orange can be sealed in an identical empty jar to demonstrate the effects of ageing without mummification. Weigh and examine the control orange at various stages to contrast the condition with the mummified orange.
- Table salts or Epsom salt can be substituted for the baking soda.
- Slicing the orange prior to adding the baking soda speeds the mummification process.
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