Thursday, April 4, 2019

What are Cream Chargers?

What are Cream Chargers?

Cream Chargers are small pressurized canisters of Nitrous Oxide (N2O) - popularly known as laughing gas, used to make whipped cream. They are available in standard size, leak proof, galvanized steel cartridges, filled with 8 gm of culinary grade N2O gas under pressure. The tapering end of a Cream Charger is covered in an easily breakable foil that can be pricked or twisted to release the gas. Cream Chargers are made with recyclable steel that is easily disposed off after use. 
Cream Chargers
Cream Chargers - Source: Walmart

Origin of Cream Chargers

Synthesized by Joseph Priestly in 1722, N2O was popularized by Sir Humphrey Davy via his ‘Laughing Gas Parties’, experimentations and observations. Anesthetic use of nitrous oxide was one of his many observations. Two centuries later, it’s still the best anesthetic gas in use in the medical industry.

Commercial usage of nitrogen oxide gas for creating foamy drinks only a century and a half later in 1869. Industrial usage for foaming diary products like heavy cream, manufacture of ice cream, and whipped cream followed shortly. 

Cream aerosols were accidentally discovered by a University of Illinois student who patented the technology in 1946. Unlike cream chargers, some cream aerosols are refillable. 

Cream Chargers' Popularity in the Food Industry

Cream Chargers, a.k.a. Nangs, due to the nasal twang resulting from inhaling the gas, are foaming and mixing agents used by the food and dairy industry to volumize whipped cream instantly. Once the seal of a cream charger is broken, nitrous oxide expands rapidly and dissolves in the cream fat - as it is a fat soluble gas, creating air pockets, giving it a smooth texture, and resulting in instant whipped cream with much increased volume. 

Besides being an excellent foaming agent, Nitrous oxide also adheres to food industry guidelines. It is a non-flammable gas and poses no fire hazards, has no discernible colour, odour, or taste - allowing the whipped cream to retain its original flavour and aroma, produces instant results, and is deemed medically safe for ingestion owing to its total and rapid elimination from the body in a short span of time. It’s also a Bstatic agent that stops bacterial growth.

How to Use a Whipped Cream Charger

Cream chargers are best used in conjunction with whipped cream siphons or dispensers. A single gas cartridge inserted into the cartridge node can produce enough whipped cream, from a pint of heavy cream, for a single use batch. Just pour the heavy cream, sweeteners, and flavouring agents into the jar, screw on the cap tightly, and shake the bottle vigorously. Press on the nozzle to release the gas that creates the frothing effect and pushes out instant homemade whipped cream. 28% is the minimum fat content requirement in heavy cream to foam it with cream chargers. Whipped cream made with cream chargers can be stored in the refrigerator for upto two weeks before spoiling.

Whipped Cream Siphon and Chargers - Source: ECO Cleaning Products

Dos and Don’ts of Cream Chargers

Follow the instructions on the box carefully to avoid kitchen mishaps. Do not use multiple canisters simultaneously. Do not twist the sealing cap off cream chargers with inappropriate equipment. Doing so might result in freeze burns. Store the chargers as instructed and dispose them off properly after use. 

Applications of Cream Chargers

Whippets, Nangs, NOS, nossies, or cream chargers can be bought at all leading dairy equipment outlets, supermarkets, and grocery stores. A pack of 10 cream chargers can be bought for as low as $7. Buying in bulk brings down the costs further. Free delivery can be availed on orders above certain price points. 

In the food and catering industry, cafes and baristas rely heavily on cream chargers to effervesce espressos, cold coffees, and other aerated milk products. Bakeries and restaurants also find frequent use for cream chargers to top off cream based desserts. 

Recreational use of whipped cream bulbs is on the rise as the gas provides a short, 20 seconds high and has no side effects in the short term. Long term side effects are considerable and need to be studied further.

Cream Chargers are an easy and affordable way to make whipped cream at home. They yield better results than hand whipped cream, add more volume and fluff, and have rapid action onset saving precious time. Cream Chargers can also be used as infusers to add subtle flavours to the whipped cream. 

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