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Huntsville, AL 35813, USA

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Making Ice Cream with Liquid Nitrogen

A friend recently visited my office bearing a high-efficiency cryogenic container. Have you ever sampled the delights of ice cream created using liquid nitrogen?

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A couple of days ago, my chum Rick Curl, who lives about a 2-hour drive away in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, just popped into my office for a quick visit. Knowing Rick was coming, I’d brought my Countdown Timer into the office to show him the current state of play. After an appropriate number of “Oohs” and “Aahs,” Rick mentioned that he also had brought a little something for “show and tell,” at which point he ambled down to his truck to retrieve a bag of “stuff,” a regular cooler, and a very mysterious item. The mysterious item turned out to be a high-efficiency cryogenic storage system full of liquid nitrogen. I cannot believe that this wasn’t my first guess as soon as Rick carried it through the door. I must be losing my touch. So, why does Rick now own his own high-efficiency cryogenic container? To be honest, I’ve found it’s best not to ask why any of my friends do what they do, because the ensuing tales ate typically so cryptic and convoluted that they would put my dear old mother’s epic sagas to shame. From the cooler, as seen in this video, Rick extracted a cup of sugar (well, a plastic bag containing what he assured me was a cup-sized quantity of sugar), a pint of half-and-half, a pint of heavy whipping cream, and a bottle of vanilla extract.  
From the bag, he produced a large plastic container with a screw-top lid, a stainless-steel mixing bowl, a stainless-steel spoon, some regular paper bowls, some plastic spoons, and a pair of heavy-duty insulated gloves. First, we added all of the ingredients into the plastic container and gave it a good shaking to dissolve the sugar, then we poured a portion of this mixture into the stainless-steel bowl. Next, as seen in this video, I donned the gloves and started stirring furiously while Rick added the liquid nitrogen.  
The idea is that the mixture freezes so fast that ice crystals don’t have time to form. The result was the smoothest, creamiest ice cream I’ve ever tasted. I’m still licking my lips as I think about it tickling my taste buds. I tell you; you never know what’s going to happen next in the Pleasure Dome (my office). How about you? Have you ever sampled the delights of ice cream created using liquid nitrogen?

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Sam Smith

My wife took me to an ice cream parlor in Phoenix called Sub Zero that serves ice cream made this way. My first impression was of the tall LN2 cylinder in the corner – taller than I am by a fair bit and quite wide. Choose your flavorings and they make it on the spot, leading to my second impression, a question: did an industrial hygienist sign off on this? No gloves, they pour the LN2 from a steel nozzle that bears great resemblance to the one I use to water my garden. At least he wore glasses (no face shield though as is common in my industry.
On the whole, it was a fun experience culminating in the best frozen treat I’ve ever had.

Aubrey Kagan

My first and only sampling of the liquid nitrogen ice cream was at my son’s wedding 5 years ago, this week. It was GREAT (both the wedding and the ice cream)

Rick Curl

If you take some of the unfrozen ice cream mixture and put it in a squeeze bottle you can drip it into a bowl containing a couple inches of liquid nitrogen- and make your own version of Dipping dots.
IMPORTANT!! wait until the vapor stops coming off or you’ll freeze it to your tongue.

Greg Lupion

This was great, Max and Rick. How hard would it be to add special flavorings or chocolate chips or nuts? And, just for the record, the best ice cream I’ve ever sampled was in Charleston at this place: http://jenis.com/scoop-shops/jenis-king-street/

Rick Curl

With Max being a Newbie to Liquid nitrogen ice cream I wanted to start him off gently – but yes- I love to add fresh diced peaches (from Clanton, Alabama, of course!), Vandermint liqueur with Godiva chocolate sprinkles, or Bailey’s Irish Cream. The possibilities are endless.
BTW- the container for the liquid nitrogen is called a Dewar bottle- not to be confused with the Scotch whiskey by the same name.

I’m not going to tell you what these little 3 liter Dewars are intended to be used for- you’d never eat liquid nitrogen ice cream again.

-Rick

Greg Lupion

Thanks for the info and the humor, gents!

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