Make a Fruit Mummy
The ancient Egyptians preserved human bodies after
death by making them into mummies.
A body is mummified by removing most of the moisture from it
so that it is difficult for bacteria to thrive inside it and
cause decay. The Egyptians did this by covering the body with
natron. Natron is a naturally-occurring desiccant. A
desiccant removes water from material with which it comes into
can make a mummy out of a slice of fruit by covering it with
a desiccant and letting it draw the water out. You will be using
a mixture of baking soda and salt as the desiccant. These are
some of the substances in natron.
STEP 1: You will need a small apple, a
knife, a box of baking soda, a box of table salt, two disposable
plastic drinking cups and a measuring cup.
STEP 2: Cut the apple in two, then slice
one of the halves in half again. You can discard the half (eat
it if you want) and put each of the remaining quarters into
one of the two plastic cups. If you have a sensitive scale,
weigh one of the cups and write the weight down.
STEP 3: Fill the measuring cup with baking
soda up to 1/3 mark. Then add salt until the cup is filled up
to the 2/3s mark. Mix the salt and baking soda together in the
STEP 4: Pour the mixture into the cup that
you weighed. Make sure all of the apple slice is completely
5: Put the cups on a shelf somewhere out of direct sunlight
for one week. The uncovered cup will serve as a control
to see what happens if the apple slice is left untreated.
STEP 6: After a week, check on your apples.
The uncovered apple slice will have rotted. Carefully pour the
mixture out of the cup with the covered apple. Do not wash it.
Compare the mummified apple to the control apple. Which is better
preserved? In most cases, the mummified slice will be shrunken
and the skin black, but there will be no mold or rotten areas.
Weigh it if you weighed it before. Has it lost
weight? The difference between the two weights is the amount
of water the apple has lost during mummification.
STEP 7: Discard apples and clean up.
Copyright Lee Krystek, 2000.
All Rights Reserved.