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By Callie Snow

Liquid-nitrogen-made ice cream

The idea of ice cream made with liquid nitrogen may seem a little odd if you have never had it. But it is becoming more and more popular in today's foodie culture. It is also said to have a much smoother and creamier texture. So, what is it? Ice cream, of course! But it is made in an unconventional way — no churning, no ice cream machine, and it can be made in minutes! As the liquid nitrogen ice cream trend continues to grow, you can find more ice cream shops serving this interesting treat. It can be found in many flavors and is becoming readily available.

The base of liquid nitrogen ice cream is similar to that of traditional ice cream. The big difference is that it isn't frozen in a traditional way. The liquid nitrogen is used to freeze the ice cream base in just a matter of minutes, and then it is ready to consume. The basic ingredients are typically along the lines of milk, sugar, cornstarch and flavoring, though some recipes do include more traditional ingredients such as eggs. The ice cream is made by cooking the milk, sugar and cornstarch until it begins to thicken. After allowing the mixture to cool, you add in the flavorings and transfer it to the bowl of a stand mixer. Then it is time for the liquid nitrogen.

Extreme caution must be used when handling liquid nitrogen, and extensive research should be done before attempting it at home. Once you have cooked, cooled and transferred the milk base, the liquid nitrogen is then added while the mixer is on. You continue to mix until it is too thick to stir and you have added all of the liquid nitrogen. When the liquid nitrogen is poured, it creates a cold visible smoke pouring off the surface. You allow for all of the nitrogen to evaporate before consuming the ice cream.

Some of the big questions surrounding ice cream made with liquid nitrogen are "is it safe" and "is it healthy?" Experts say that liquid nitrogen is safe to use in the preparation of food and drinks but it should not be ingested. If ingested, the liquid nitrogen can continue to freeze once it's inside the body, or it can turn into a dangerous gas causing serious internal damage to one's organs. As with most anything, there are people who believe consuming anything made with liquid nitrogen is dangerous.

As for the nutritional value of liquid nitrogen ice cream, it is very similar to that of traditional ice cream. It isn't any healthier, but the majority of consumers do appreciate that it typically has fewer ingredients. It is also usually made to order, so no preservatives or additives are required. The overall opinion of liquid nitrogen ice cream is that it's quite amazing; it has consumers flocking to get a taste at nitrogen ice cream shops everywhere.

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