If you thought cooking on earth was a challenge, cooking in space is a much bigger challenge. 

What makes cooking in space so difficult for astronauts?

In space, astronauts face microgravity better known as "zero gravity." While microgravity makes everything float including themselves, it makes astronaut space cooking a challenge as it alters the physics of the food they prepare.

David Zambuto

How are cooking techniques are affected in microgravity?

According to reports at BBC, one of the major challenges space cooking poses is a lack of convection, a form of heating commonly used for food and drinks that allows for food to be fully heated throughout. 

beer, ale, coffee
David Zambuto

So which cooking techniques can't be used in space? 

 With no convection heating capabilities, astronaut cooking makes it impossible to be able to prepare a hot cup of coffee. However, astronauts are able to avoid a completely cold cup of coffee by simply (using a spoon) stirring their coffee.

David Zambuto

The lack of convection also makes deep frying a challenge as oil fluid cannot fully be heated for an item to be cooked in. Not having convection also creates a challenge for being able to boil and heat water. 

What traditional means of cooking have astronauts used in space before?

Astronauts typically eat prepared meals. And according to sources at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, sstronauts use three different types of prepared meals: freeze dried, refrigerated and canned. These meals follow the premise of being "lightweight, compact, tasty and nutritious, [and] also [kept] for long periods without being refrigerated."

David Zambuto

For freeze-dried foods, astronauts use a hydration gun better known as a water gun before the food is ready for consumption. Freeze-dried food is food that has been prepared, quickly frozen, and placed in a vacuum chamber where all the water is removed. 

For refrigerated and canned foods, astronauts eat some prepared meals wrapped in tin foil and specifically labeled for a certain date of consumption.