Nitrous Oxide Whipped Cream Chargers
Whipped cream bulbs are small stainless steel canisters that are filled with 8 grams of nitrous oxide. Nitrous Oxide chargers should not be confused with CO2 chargers, which are commonly used for making soda water. Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a clear, colorless, oxidizing liquefied gas with a slightly sweet odor.Keep in mind that the chargers are under great pressure. Please use in accordance with manufacturers instructions. Non-aerosol. Recyclable steel. Volume 10 cm3. Contains 8gm Nitrous Oxide (E942) under pressure. For food use only. Gross cartridge weight – 28g. Color – Silver. Do not pierce. Never dispose of full cartridges. Do not take onboard an aircraft. Keep out of reach of children. Explosion danger – 50C max temperature.
RECYCLING – Non-refillable, made of 100% recyclable steel. They are safe to put in with curbside recycling. Please do not dispose of unused cartridges.
How Cream Chargers Work
When you understand the actual mechanism at work with cream whippers and the role of the nitrous oxide chargers then you will be able to appreciate exactly what is going on within each recipe and this will allow you to expand the ideas and also to notice when something is not going according to plan.
The process of using a gas whipped is simply a process of injecting gas into a liquid – in this sense, it is no different from the process of using a soda siphon. The real difference is the actual gas that you are using – a soda siphon cartridge is a pressurized canister of carbon dioxide (CO2) whereas a cream charger is a canister of Nitrous Oxide (N2O). It is the different properties of these two gasses that give them entirely different culinary purposes.
1. CO2 is more soluble in water then N2O – this is why carbonated drinks are fizzy but and product from a cream whipper is not.
2. CO2 is acidic but N2O is neutral – the acidity is what makes fizzy drinks tangy, and is why seltzer tastes considerably different to the water that it was created from. Nitrous imparts precisely no flavor to anything that it is passed through which is why it can be used for sweets, savories and drinks.
3. Nitrous can dissolve in fat when held under pressure – this is why liquids with a fat content of approx. 27% can easily be whipped using a whipped cream charger this could be fat within whipping or double cream or some recipes call for the addition of another type of fat (usual butter) So, what actually happens when you use a cream charger to prepare some food or drinks? Well, the process is quite straightforward. Whatever you intend to foam is placed into the bottle of the dispenser this is then made pressure-tight when the head is screwed down. The charger canister which contains 8 grams gas is use to pressurize the liquid and force the N2O to dissolve into it.
Depending upon the recipe this might need to be done while the contents are still warm to give the gas a chance to penetrate the substance at a molecular level. When the trigger is pulled then the contents of the dispenser will be propelled out under pressure and simultaneously the encaptured nitrous oxide will expand. All the recipes include some form of fat or a gelling/thickening agent to make sure that the gas does not simply bubble out and disappear into the atmosphere. When you understand the process above then you’ll get much more from the recipes.
A few tips: Give the contents of the whipper time for the gas to infuse, always shake the contents to ensure even gaseous distribution. Try to avoid any lumps, seeds, pips or bits in you mixture that might block the dispenser nozzle.
Nitrous Oxide as a Food Propellent
Nitrous oxide is a popular food propellant because it can be compressed into a liquid form. Because of this, it can yield large amounts of expanded gas. The cryogenic and evaporative cooling properties of the gas means it is used for preservation purposes in the kitchen as well. The ‘fluffy’ nature of whipped cream is a result of the breaking down of the large-sized molecules within the cream, which are broken down via the introduction of nitrous oxide. The reason why nitrous oxide is used in making whipped cream is due to the fact that it has a much greater volume as compared to whipping standard cream. A range of different products are preserved through nitrous oxide, especially foods that are half cooked and can be cooked later on.
Many different aerosol sprays that are used for cooking are also made from nitrous oxide. Its use as a propellant is due to the fact that the gas has a property of stopping the growth of bacteria in food products, which of course is very important. Nitrous oxide is used in filling the empty air in chips and snacks to remove the bacteria.
Nitrous oxide (N2O) was discovered in the late 1700’s by the English scientist Joseph Priestley. Humphry Davy of the Pneumatic Institute in Bristol, England, experimented with the physiological properties of the gas, such as its effects upon respiration. He would administer the gas to visitors to the institute, and after watching the effects on people who inhaled it, coined the term ‘laughing gas’! Davy even noted the anesthetic effects of the gas: “As nitrous oxide in its extensive operation appears capable of destroying physical pain, it may probably be used with advantage during surgical operations in which no great effusion of blood takes place“.
Today, Nitrous oxide is a very safe and popular agent used as a mild sedative and analgesic in dentist offices. Dentists use a specialized machine which mixes the nitrous oxide with oxygen and allows the physician to control the flow of gas.
This information is provided for informational and educational use only.