Food With Liquid Nitrogen

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Eat in a unique way. With liquid nitrogen and quick flash freezing, food maintains its natural flavor, texture and appearance. They include such items as ice cream, cereal, and cheese puffs as well as alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. There are some safe ways that the food industry can use liquid nitrogen

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Food With Liquid Nitrogen

Food grade liquid nitrogen is commonly used for fast-freezing food goods to improve freshness when processing or transporting foods to various grocery stores. Though it tends to be used as a preservative of sorts, it is also used creatively to produce innovative foods and dishes.

With ice cream, for example, liquid nitrogen is often used for rapid freezing. Not unexpectedly, as the term grows in popularity, many local ice cream parlors specialize in using liquid nitrogen to prepare their ice creams. In the conventional ice cream process, ice crystals are formed and expanded to freeze the mixture, giving the ice cream something of a grainy texture. Because of the rapid freezing, the ice cream mixture contains less oxygen which results in a consistency often deemed to be creamier.

Over the past few years, chefs have begun experimenting with molecular gastronomy to enhance their culinary works of art. Molecular gastronomy is a method of turning food into distinct shapes, textures, and tastes by combining science with food ingredients to create a special dining experience.

As an example, freezing raspberries using liquid nitrogen results in droplets of raspberry. If the raspberries are frozen and subsequently crushed, they would eventually turn into raspberry pulp, due to only the outer layer being frozen. The whole food is frozen with a fast liquid nitrogen freeze, and individual pieces can be broken off. The same applies to just about any other flash-frozen product which can then be used as a topping.

This update is by Co2 supplier Florida company VS Carbonics, the premier solution for Co2 gas and more. We are a family-owned and operated business offering an extensive array of services including liquid nitrogen refill service, bulk CO2 suppliers, and single canister delivery. We supply Co2, dry ice, gas blends, and nitrogen to many businesses and industries for various purposes including but not limited to events, concerts, food storage, and more. 

Foods Made Possible by Liquid Nitrogen

In a time when many of us are separated from our favorite restaurants, we thought we’d look at some of the over-the-top food inventions that are only made possible by liquid nitrogen.

A quick disclaimer – while eating properly prepared and served treats made with food-grade liquid nitrogen is safe (except for the danger of brain-freeze), handling or making your own foods with liquid nitrogen requires both appropriate training and protective equipment.

Now, on to the treats.

Liquid Nitrogen Cocktails

With alcohol’s freezing temperature (-173.5°F in its purest form) much lower than water, freezing alcoholic drinks isn’t possible with standard equipment. But, with liquid nitrogen, so much more is possible.

Several Los Angeles-area bars take advantage of this unique property of liquid nitrogen to create chilled and frozen cocktails, sans ice.

Molecular Gastronomy

Many chefs have taken advantage of liquid nitrogen’s unique properties to create otherwise unobtainable foods. But none perhaps have taken it as far as Heston Blumenthal, in a tasting menu for his 3-Michelin-starred restaurant The Fat Duck outside of London.

Highlights from a tasting menu recounted here include:
• A nitro green tea and lime mousse, made from green tea powder added to “a spoonful of mousse swirled around in liquid nitrogen”
• Hot and iced tea, which looks like a regular cup of tea, “but the right-hand side is hot and the left cold”
• A nitro scrambled egg and bacon ice cream, where the eggs are cracked into a bowl of liquid nitrogen and “spooned around until scrambled”

Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream

Our personal favorite: liquid nitrogen ice cream seems to be the most enduring, popular liquid-nitrogen enabled food. When liquid nitrogen is used to freeze something, it can help to avoid the large ice crystals that form during the traditional freezing process. That gives foods like ice cream a smoother, more velvety texture.

Looking for the best liquid nitrogen ice cream and treats in the Los Angeles area? Check out these top-rated places on Yelp, some of which are offering takeout orders for a stay-at-home treat during the pandemic.

Have an Idea for Your Own Liquid Nitrogen Treat?

If you’re a culinary professional looking for supplies to make the next big hit in liquid nitrogen cooking, we’ve got all the storage, handling and safety equipment you need, not to mention plenty of food-grade liquid nitrogen to get you going.

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How to Use Liquid Nitrogen Keeping Food Safety in Mind

How to Use Liquid Nitrogen Keeping Food Safety in Mind
How to Use Liquid Nitrogen Keeping Food Safety in Mind
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Recently a young man at a New Delhi bar consumed a cocktail from a glass chilled with Liquid Nitrogen. Immediately he began to feel ill and was rushed to the hospital. When the doctors prepared him for surgery they saw that his stomach had been perforated so badly that half of it had to be removed.  The incident has sent shock waves across the food and beverage industry. There are a number of trendy bars and restaurants that chill cocktail glasses with Liquid Nitrogen or use it in foods for its dramatic food experience. When liquid is added to the glass it begins to smoke and emits a vapor which makes foods and beverages interesting. The chefs and bartenders using Liquid Nitrogen are usually well trained. They even make it a point to caution the customers not to drink the cocktail or eat foods until the smoke from the Liquid Nitrogen is completely vaporized.

While Liquid Nitrogen is safe to use in food or beverages it should not be consumed. The main point is that liquid nitrogen must be fully evaporated from the food or drink before serving. Drinking the liquid without full vaporization means the customer will ingest it. Ingesting is dangerous because it causes severe damage to the tissues in the mouth, esophagus, and stomach. As Liquid Nitrogen vaporizes it turns into nitrogen gas which causes pressure in the body tissues and can cause holes in the tissues. Since it is extremely cold it can also cause severe frostbite. But while liquid nitrogen is commonly used by trained chefs, it can be extremely dangerous or deadly if not handled properly.

Liquid Nitrogen in the food industry

Liquid Nitrogen is used in food industry for the following

  • Freezing and chilling because it is more cost-effective when compared to traditional methods. It can chill large quantities of food in just a few minutes unlike traditional chilling and freezing methods which take hours
  • Freezing meats, fish, poultry, dairy and bakery products besides pasta, microwavable meals, fruit, and vegetables.
  • Maintaining the freshness of packaged food products. It also delays rancidity of fatty food products and prevents oxidative damage. Traditional freezing can cause large crystal formations on food products but Liquid Nitrogen prevents crystal formation and so there is no cell damage or dehydration. The fast freezing with Liquid Nitrogen creates very tiny ice crystals which seal in the moisture in the food product and so maintain better quality.
  • Fresh fruit and convenience foods do not require freezing only chilling and so they are chilled cryogenically using Liquid Nitrogen.
  • Liquid Nitrogen has become popular in the retail food and beverage industry for the preparation of novelty ice creams and cocktails also.
  • Liquid Nitrogen is also used in industrial packagings like Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) and Controlled Atmosphere Packaging (CAP). Liquid Nitrogen is injected into the packaging which rapidly expands displacing air in the container. This can be used to lengthen product life or to pressurize the container.

Use of Nitrogen as per FSS Act, Rules & Regulations

‘Nitrogen’ as an additive bearing INS no. 941 allowed to be used in food products, through GMP tables are given under Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011 and the latest amendment on September 5, 2016.

Nitrogen (INS 941) has two technical functions (as given under regulations) – Packing gas and Freezant, so it is allowed to be used in some of the categories of food products as per Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP). The categories of food products have also been mentioned where this additive can be used along with its keen purpose. GMP means; a minimum required a quantity of an additive to give the desired effect for its intended use.

FSSAI has permitted the use of nitrogen (INS 941) in the following food categories:

  • Fermented milk (plain) heat treated after fermentation – Nitrogen (INS 941) to be used as packing gas only, RML as per GMP.
  • Renneted milk (plain) – Nitrogen (INS 941) can be used, RML as per GMP.
  • Sterilized and UHT creams, whipping and whipped creams, and reduced fat creams (plain) – Nitrogen (INS 941) to be used as packing gas only, RML as per GMP.
  • Peeled or cut fresh fruits – Nitrogen (INS 941) to be used as packing gas only, RML as per GMP.
  • Coffee, coffee /coffee substitutes, tea, herbal infusions, and other hot cereal and grain beverages, excluding cocoa – Nitrogen (INS 941) to be used as packing gas only RML as per GMP. It can also be used in the ready-to-drink products and pre-mixes for ready-to-drink products only.
  • Fruit juices (fruit juices for industrial use, thermally processed fruits juices) – Nitrogen (INS 941) can be used, RML as per GMP.
  • Vegetable juices(vegetable juices for industrial use, thermally processed vegetable juices, thermally processed tomato juice – Nitrogen (INS 941) can be used, RML as per GMP.
  • Concentrates of fruit juices (concentrated fruit juices for industrial use) – Nitrogen (INS 941) can be used, RML as per GMP.
  • Concentrates of vegetable juices (concentrated vegetable Juices for industrial use) – Nitrogen (INS 941) can be used, RML as per GMP.

The food category “Aromatized alcoholic beverages” indirectly comes under the category of food products where Nitrogen (INS 941) can be used as per GMP as though specifically it is not mentioned but since it does not come under the category of food products for which GMP Table shall not apply. FSSAI has not specifically mentioned “Liquid Nitrogen” anywhere in the regulations.

About Liquid Nitrogen 

Liquid Nitrogen is actually nitrogen in a liquid state which has an extremely low temperature (-196°C). At room temperature, it expands rapidly into nitrogen gas. Just one liter of Liquid Nitrogen produces 700 liters of nitrogen gas. Liquid nitrogen is completely inert, colorless, tasteless, odorless, and has no adverse environmental effects. It is also called a cryogenic liquid and is commonly used in a variety of cooling applications such as food freezing, biological sample preservation, metal treatment and lesion removal (cryotherapy).

Precautions when using Liquid Nitrogen 

  • Liquid Nitrogen must be used only in areas that are properly ventilated. Since liquid nitrogen has no odor or color its presence cannot be detected easily.
  • The areas where Liquid Nitrogen is stored must have an oxygen monitoring system as leaking nitrogen can displace oxygen. When nitrogen becomes loose in the atmosphere, it creates a state of oxygen deficiency leading to suffocation. The oxygen monitoring system takes regular readings of the oxygen in the environment and if there is a deficiency worker have enough time to evacuate the premises.
  • Personnel handling Liquid Nitrogen must wear protective clothing including thick gloves like closed tough shoes, not canvas ones as those can absorb nitrogen gas. If workers accidentally get liquid nitrogen on their skin while manufacturing they will suffer severe burns.
  • Use only cryogenic storage tank or liquid cylinder for storing Liquid Nitrogen
  • When transferring Liquid Nitrogen prevent splashing and pressure build-up
  • All personnel working with Liquid Nitrogen must be fully trained in handling it, using protective gear, know how to calibrate oxygen monitoring equipment and handle emergencies.
  • An emergency plan must be in place including first aid measures.

Safe Use of Liquid Nitrogen in Food Processing Plants

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In December 2020,  two employees working at a Vernon, California food processing plant lost consciousness and died following an apparent liquid nitrogen leak. On January 28, 2021, there were several fatalities, and many other employees became sick, after being exposed to nitrogen gas when a liquid nitrogen line ruptured at a food processing plant in Gainesville, Georgia.According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a total of fourteen workers died from asphyxiation linked to nitrogen gas in twelve separate workplace accidents recorded between 2012 and 2020, and 2021 is already off to a sad start.  Tragically, these accidents illustrate the dangers of working with liquid nitrogen.

Importance of Liquid Nitrogen in Food Processing

Liquid nitrogen (LN2) is used in food processing in a number of applications, including grinding, mixing, coating, freezing, and packaging foods. Food processors may use liquid nitrogen in the production of a variety of foods, such as meat, poultry, seafood, fruits, vegetables, baked goods, and prepackaged meals. The very low temperature of LN2 is used to flash-freeze foods to help prevent microbial growth that can lead to food spoilage, and to maintain the foods’ original freshness, flavor, and textures.

Oxygen Monitors Can Reduce the Risk of Liquid Nitrogen Accidents

While the use of liquid nitrogen is important in food processing, it is not without risk. When liquid nitrogen is exposed to the air (which happens when leaks occur), it will evaporate, changing from a liquid to an oxygen-depleting gas. Oxygen deprivation can put employees in real danger if there are leaks from pressurized LN2 freezer lines, exhaust systems, or on-site storage containers. In the event of a liquid nitrogen leak, food processing workers could become disoriented, lose consciousness, or even suffocate from breathing oxygen-deficient air. Since LN2 is both odorless and colorless, workers would, in the absence of appropriate monitoring, have no way of knowing that there has been a liquid nitrogen leak.

However, by utilizing a top-quality oxygen deficiency monitor, food plant personnel can safely track oxygen levels and detect leaks before workers’ health is jeopardized.Best practice calls for oxygen deficiency monitors to be installed anywhere there is a risk of liquid nitrogen gas leaks. The monitor should be placed wherever liquid nitrogen is stored, and in all areas where liquid nitrogen is used. The monitoring equipment should include visual and audible alarms that would be activated in the event of liquid nitrogen leaks and a decrease in oxygen levels.

PureAire Monitors

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PureAire Monitoring Systems’ line of oxygen deficiency monitors, including a water-resistant unit for facilities requiring daily wash-downs, offers thorough air monitoring, with no time-consuming maintenance or calibration required. In the event of a liquid nitrogen leak, and a decrease in oxygen to an unsafe level, PureAire’s oxygen deficiency monitor will set off an alarm, complete with horns and flashing lights, alerting personnel to evacuate the area. PureAire oxygen deficiency monitors are ideally suited for use in food processing facilities because the monitors can withstand temperatures as low as -40 Celsius. Each PureAire O2 monitor has an easy to read screen, which displays current oxygen levels, for at-a-glance reading by food processing employees, who derive peace of mind from the monitor’s presence and reliable performance.

HOW IS NITROGEN GAS USED IN THE FOOD AND BEVERAGE INDUSTRY?

Nitrogen is a very useful gas. It’s used in many different industries, including the food and beverage sector, and it has a wide range of applications within it. Nitrogen is also inert, non-toxic, colourless and odourless, so it won’t harm any food or drinks.

Packaged cucumber with woman hand in the supermarket
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The gas is cost-effective and widely available, which makes it a great option in the industry. So, in this article, we’re taking a look at its vast range of applications in food and drinks, such as how it’s used in processing and packaging.

Useful in Food Processing

Nitrogen gas is often used in food processing, from meat and seafood to vegetables, fruits and prepared meals. Using liquid nitrogen is also common. Because of its extremely low temperature, liquid nitrogen can freeze anything in a few seconds or minutes, which saves a lot of time.

Freezing food with liquid nitrogen leads to smaller weight losses from dehydration. In addition, liquid nitrogen’s freezing process creates small ice crystals that keep moisture in and allow products to retain their quality for longer.

Nitrogen also eliminates heat from specific processes, which makes bacterial growth difficult or impossible and, therefore, improves the health and safety of food and drinks.

As a gas, nitrogen is great in the manufacturing of sweets as well. Aerated chocolate is quite popular and requires nitrogen put under pressure to create small bubbles. CO2 is often used to make larger bubbles.

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Whether food or drinks, nitrogen can slow the decaying process and improve the quality of the product, which helps manufacturers’ maintain a profitable business.

Nitrogen Prevents Oxidation in Packaging

This gas is widely used in Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP), be it of food or drinks. This method changes the atmosphere of the packaging by pushing out oxygen and raising the levels of nitrogen.

Oxygen causes oxidation and leads to spoilage – the substance reacts with fats and sugars, which is why things like avocado and banana become brown when in contact with air.

Bacteria can also thrive in an environment rich in oxygen, so MAP is a good way to prevent food and beverages from becoming stale, rancid or spoiled. The amount of oxygen and nitrogen that needs to be present in the packaging will depend on the product, as different foods require different amounts.

For example, meat can develop a strange colour if there isn’t enough oxygen inside the package, so it’s crucial to get the balance right.

Nitrogen is useful in the packaging of both fizzy and still beverages, such as beer, wine and water, and is injected into containers in precise amounts, which pressurises them and allows the products to last for a long time. The pressure created by nitrogen ensures that the CO2 remains in the carbonated drinks, so that they don’t lose their bubbles until the bottle is finally opened.

Bellini, alcoholic cocktail with sparkling wine, sugar syrup, lemon juice, peach and ice, gray table background, copy space
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The nitrogen present inside wine bottles also keeps the wine from oxidising, which could spoil the beverage – you’ll notice, after all, that wine is only good for a few days after it’s been opened. The oxidation process will, eventually, make the taste similar to vinegar.

Another example of how nitrogen keeps food fresh is crisp packets. You’ve probably wondered many times why they have so much air inside them; this ‘air’ ensures that the crisps have a long shelf life and don’t become stale while the packet is closed. Once opened, the crisps will quickly turn stale.

Nitrogen in Restaurants and Bars

Nitrogen is so versatile that is can be used in places like restaurants, pubs and bars as well. In its liquid form, nitrogen can be used to present and serve dishes, as it creates a dramatic fog effect at the table (for example, famous chef Heston Blumenthal uses liquid nitrogen to enhance the dining experience of his customers).

The creativity of using liquid nitrogen is not just limited to serving meals. Nitrogen can also be used to make ice cream – it works by rapidly freezing the mixture while preserving its taste and texture, and the resulting ice cream will be smooth as well.

Lady making liquid nitrogen vegan ice cream
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A blend of nitrogen and CO2 is also used in pubs to serve Guinness. The beer is famous for its creamy and carbonated texture, which is achieved by using this blend to push the beverage through the lines. We have plenty of beer cellar gas at Adams Gas, so you can easily start producing your own beers at home.

Nitrogen can help manufacturers to increase the shelf life of their products, as well as to preserve the freshness of the food. This gas will also ensure that the taste and texture stay the same and helps to keep mould and rancidity at bay.

From nitrogen gas to CO2 bottles, we have everything you could possibly need at our store, so get in touch with us today if you want to learn more about our products and how they can help.

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