Science Never Tasted So Good! In this adventure, Lyle and I made delicious Ice Cream using Liquid Nitrogen as the cooling agent. Liz and Ellie helped with the camera work and production, and the whole thing made for a supercooled backyard science project for the whole family.
CAUTION: Liquid Nitrogen boils at -320 Fahrenheit. That’s really, really cold. So, it’s important to make sure you handle it safely. You’ll need a face mask, cryogenic gloves, and proper project clothes. Be Careful! Okay – Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get on with the fun!
Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream is made like any other ice cream, except for cooling it down, we pour the Nitrogen directly into the bowl with the other ingredients. Because Nitrogen is an element, when it evaporates, there’s nothing left but cold, delicious ice cream.
Nitrogen is Number 7 on the Periodic Table of Elements. That means it’s got 7 electrons in the two “rings” orbiting its nucleus. Two electrons in the inner ring, and five in the outer. Nitrogen freezes at -346 degrees Fahrenheit, and boils at -320 degrees Fahrenheit. Our atmosphere is made up of about 79% Nitrogen. We breath quite a lot of Nitrogen all day, every day. Nitrogen is colorless and odorless. It’s all around us, and life wouldn’t be possible without it. Awesome fun projects like this wouldn’t be possible without it, either
Here’s our recipe for the Mint Chocolate Chip NitroScream, as Lyle calls it!
- liquid nitrogen - 8 cups
- heavy whipping cream - 1 cup
- half-and-half - 2 cups
- sugar - ½ cup
- 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
- fresh mint leaves - 4
- shaved chocolate - ¼ cup
- salt - ½ tsp
- peaches - 2
- peach preserves - ½ cup
- Peel and halve the peaches, and heat them up so they're super soft. Use a grill, a toaster oven, or even a propane torch for this. Then, chop the peaches into small dice.
- Split and scrape the vanilla bean, saving the husk.
- Combine all the other ingredients EXCEPT THE LIQUID NITROGEN, MINT AND CHOCOLATE in a large saucepan and warm over medium heat until it steams but does not boil. A candy thermometer is a great way to do this the right way every time. Bring the mixture to 175 degrees F. Strain and cover with a lid or plastic wrap. Let it cool to room temperature, or place in the refrigerator overnight.
- Pour the mixture into a Stainless Steel bowl or the stainless steel bowl of a mixer. WARNING: DO NOT USE GLASS. Start the mixer on the lowest setting, or stir slowly. Slowly add 1 cup of Nitrogen and mix until is completely evaporated.
- After the first round of Liquid Nitrogen, add the mint and chocolate shavings.
- Continue mixing and adding liquid nitrogen into the mixture, approximately one cup at a time, until the mixture is at the consistency of ice cream.