The Truth About Nitrogen Ice Cream

Liquid nitrogen has become a flashy new way to make a ton of foods through ultra-fast flash freezing. If you have never seen it in person, chances are you might have seen various food competition television shows keep it on hand for competitors to use for quick ice cream. When poured into a bowl with an ice cream base, an eerie fog begins to pour out (via Nearsay). Though it might be reminiscent of dry ice at Halloween parties, liquid nitrogen is a lot colder. In fact, dry ice's freezing point is -109.3 degrees Fahrenheit while liquid nitrogen's is -321 degrees Fahrenheit (via The Kitchn).

While traditional, churned ice cream takes time, liquid nitrogen makes fresh ice cream almost instantly. All you have to do is choose an ice cream or yogurt base, any flavors or mix-ins you might want, and add the nitrogen. Since liquid nitrogen's freezing point is so low, it freezes the ingredients incredibly fast too. The nitrogen is colorless, odorless, and flavorless, so all you'll be left with is incredibly creamy ice cream.

Precautions to know and take with nitrogen ice cream

While it's possible to make everything from cheese puffs and cereals to cocktails and ice cream with liquid nitrogen, it's important to know the risks associated with using this method. Liquid nitrogen has clear cut safety hazards to begin with, such as it's imperative to avoid letting it come into contact with your skin or eyes. That's why it is very important to wear long gloves and goggles while using liquid nitrogen (via Dartmouth).

In 2018, the FDA also released a new safety advisory with regard to consuming anything that was made with liquid nitrogen. Though liquid nitrogen is a non-toxic chemical element, several life-threatening cases appeared in people who had consumed products made with the element. For example, liquid nitrogen was found to cause severe skin and internal organ damage when is was not handled properly. Inhaling the vapor also caused difficulty breathing for those with asthma (via Fortune), which has been an issue with popular treats like "dragon's breath," which is a nitrogen-frozen cereal treat often found in shopping malls around the country (via The Takeout).

Perhaps leave this method of ice cream making to the pros, and stick to using a churn at home.