Surfacing the unsavory details behind one of the most villified and misunderstood products of our industrial foodscape, designer Maya Weinstein created a DIY High-Fructose Cornsyrup (HFCS) Kit as “citizen food science” for her thesis project at Parsons MFA program for Design and Technology. Weinstein’s exploration of HFCS came from an interest in the fact that HFCS is not sold as a stand-alone product and can only be found on ingredient lists in manufactured foods. Her DIY Kit reveals the mystery and science behind the production of HFCS through a simple recipe:

8 cups of water
1 drop Sulfuric Acid
2 cups ground corn
1 teaspoon Alpha Amylase
1 teaspoon Glucose Amylase
1 teaspoon Xylose
2 droppers Glucose Isomerase

Beyond the unpronounceable ingredients list, the process is quite straightforward. As Weinstein explains in a great demonstration and interview for Bon Appetit, “The whole reason why companies use high-fructose corn syrup is that it’s really cheap to make, partly, I think, because the same companies that manufacture these enzymes are also manufacturing corn.” The human body has a harder time breaking down the industrially produced sweeteners and nutritionists have identified the ingredient for use in highly processed foods ranging from yogurt to bread, snack foods to dried fruits. Although the process of cooking up your own batch of HFCS would be a simple project for any home cook, the sourcing of the materials was the most challenging aspect of creating the kit.

The designer hopes to launch a kickstarter for the Kit in the near future (so you can avoid the materials sourcing problem) but until then, you can watch the how-to video below and source the ingredients yourself if you’re feeling very ambitious.