Google Doodle Celebrates Eva Ekeblad, The Woman Who Made Vodka Possible

Google Doodle honours Eva Ekeblad the Swedish noble and scientist who created alcoholic drinks from potatoes on her 293rd birthday

"Eva discovered the starch was humble but mighty - potatoes could be ground into flour or distilled into spirits", Google wrote of her groundbreaking discovery.

Born in Sweden on July 10, 1724, today would have been her 293rd birthday, so our home pages are decorated with an image to illustrate that fact. Her work resulted in gluten-free baking and production of alcohols such as potato wine and vodka.

After the death of her husband Count Claes Claesson Ekeblad in 1771, Ekeblad retired to her countryside estates.

As an expert of agronomy, Ekeblad studied several uses of plants especially potatoes.

Ekeblad also became the first woman elected to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1748. Ekeblad's contribution made potatoes a staple food. In Sweden the potato was mostly restricted to aristocratic greenhouses and thought of as animal feed. "Her discovery helped reduce starvation in years to come", writes Google on the Google Doodle Blog.

Although she lived until 1786 and continued to experiment and hold an influential position in Swedish aristocratic society, her membership of the Royal Academy of Sciences was reduced to an honorary membership in 1751.

Following her success, Eva Ekeblad turned her attentions towards easing other domestic tasks. Meitner then moved to Sweden and gained citizenship in 1951 making her the first Swedish female member of the academy for 200 years. In 1746, she understood that these vegetables could be cooked, dried and crushed to create a kind of flour fit for consumption by humans.

Ekeblad died in 1786, and it was nearly after two centuries, that is in 1951, that the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences elected another woman.

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