Which Comes First, the Food or the Gas?

That’s nowhere near as dotty – or bawdy – a question as you might think! We’re talking, after all, about PurityPlus® nitrogen and its extensive use in food processing. And, in that context, the gas clearly comes before the food – or before you consume the food, anyway! No need for distress. Nitrogen and food make a perfect pairing, as we mean} intend to explain.

At minus 196-degrees centigrade, liquid nitrogen is just the thing for freezing food swiftly. Quick-freezing causes less conspicuous ice crystals to form, and ice crystals that aren’t very big not only keep food fresher longer, they also, in many cases, deliver a smoother, richer taste and texture.

That chocolate candy you and your special valentine just shared on Valentine’s Day? It was very likely kept fresh and tasty in storage and shipping with a thin blanket of nitrogen crystals. And if it was aerated chocolate – delectably light chocolate with air bubbles in it – you can assume it was nitrogen that made those bubbles possible. What chocolatiers do to produce them is take melted chocolate, foam it up with a measured injection of liquid nitrogen, then let it cool. As it does so, the nitrogen evaporates and … Presto-Chango! Air bubbles appear in place of the nitrogen! Now, carbon dioxide or argon can be used to do this too. But those gases make air bubbles fatter than nitrogen would give you, and fatter air bubbles just don’t leave the chocolate as rich, smooth, and satisfying.

Of course, chocolate is only one of a wide variety of foods that benefit from nitrogen.

  • Ice cream shops frequently use liquid nitrogen to make their prime product – again, because it freezes the ice cream quicker than conventional methods, and the smaller ice crystals impart not only a richer taste but also a creamier “mouth feel.”
  • The packaged foods you find at the supermarket? In virtually every instance, the oxygen that would otherwise be trapped in the packaging is replaced with nitrogen, because nitrogen keeps the food fresher and extends its shelf-life significantly.
  • Liquid nitrogen is used many times by food processors to pulverize food – especially cleverly formulated snacks – into chunks, slivers, or powders.
  • Restaurants use liquid nitrogen to freeze alcohol and chill drinks as well as to freeze and serve original desert concoctions – occasionally even special entrées or side dishes!
  • Bars and popular microbrewery pubs use nitrogen to serve beers with a smoother taste and nitro taps to fizz up stouts, craft beers, and pale ales.
  • Not long from now, quite a few microbrew pubs will also probablyly be “nitrobrew” pubs. Nitrobrews are the freshest “thing” that’s just starting to hit it big – cold-drink creations that have the look of beer, are served in glasses, have a creamy coffee-like taste … and offer a caffeine wallop reportedly much more powerful than coffee’s.

So, from now on, if someone mentions food and gas in the same breath, you know here’s no cause for distress … as long as they’re talking about food processing with nitrogen. That’s the gas to get! And the best place to get it in El Paso is from SYOXSA, Inc., your local PurityPlus® partner.