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3-D printers make food prep easy

Patricia Conte has a background in marketing communications and works as an independent writer. In 2010, she was given the opportunity to combine her love of writing and food when she started as a contributing writer for the Food channel...

Just hit "print"

3-D food printers give new meaning to the words "printer jam." From ravioli to shapely snacks to cookies, 3-D printers are actually putting food on the table.

3d Food printer

Photo credit: Maciej Frolow/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images

By now you've probably heard of many types of innovative items 3-D printers can create, from casts for broken bones to toys to musical instruments. But would you have ever imagined a 3-D printer for food?

Who's doing all the printing?

3D Systems expects to offer its ChefJet and ChefJet Pro 3-D printers late in 2014, which will enable users to produce edible sculptures and confections of all sorts (think sugar, chocolate and candy). You're sure to see some beautiful cake toppers and decorations as well as edible party favors.

Chefjet and Chefjet Pro 3D printers

Photo credit: 3D Systems

Natural Machines' Foodini 3-D printer will have your meal covered from side dishes to dessert. Imagine eliminating some of the difficult prep work involved in making certain dishes. This printer produces sweet and savory items, like sweet potato rounds, burgers, pizza, fish 'n' chips and cookies.

Natural Machines Foodini 3D printer

Photo credit: Natural Machines

NASA is in on the printable food prep path too, partnering with Systems and Materials Research Consultancy to study the possibility of using 3-D printers during space missions. As NASA works to improve its efforts in all capacities, meal-planning for missions is included.

NASA

Photo credit: NASA

Choc Edge has a 3-D printer that does just what you might imagine: It creates artistic designs made of glorious chocolate. Imagine the creative gifts you can give or people you can impress with dessert at the end of a meal.

Similar and sweet

If you thought holograms were just for sci-fi movies or music awards shows, think again. While not exactly the same as 3-D printing, Swiss design company Morphotonix is testing and applying spectacular designs etched onto chocolates. These beauties are still not available in stores or to the public, but we're looking forward to this beautiful and sweet technology headed our way soon.

The next time you reach for something from the printer, it might just be dinner.

More kitchen tips and tricks

How to buy good cookware
How to make a braided pie crust
4 Homemade spice mixes

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