SAVED SWEDEN WITH VODKA
Eva Ekeblad was born in Sweden in 1724 to a well-to-do family. At the age of 16, she married a count. She could have just entertained nobility and take care of her seven children but this gal had a brain for science.
In the castle kitchen, she experimented with potatoes. Potatoes were introduced to Sweden in 1658 and only available to nobles. She noticed how hearty the crop was and became determined to find more uses so she could bring it to the people.
Her first discovery was creating potato flour. Then she made alcohol out of it – you know, potato vodka. Now we can’t say she invented vodka or even invented potato vodka because that’s highly debated.
Sweden was facing multiple famines and food shortages. Bringing multiple uses of the potatoes to her people greatly improved the country’s diet. Now it did lead to a spike in alcohol consumption across Northern Europe, but hey.
Eva was the first woman elected to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, she’s sometimes called an honorary member because the Academy was open to men only.
One could say she was early science royalty.
Want more saucy gals of history? Dr. Leah Leach has more.