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-sized, 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 of after use. 
Cream Chargers

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 began only a century and a half later, in 1869. Widespread industrial usage for foaming dairy 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 instantly volumize whipped cream. Once the seal of a cream charger is broken, nitrous oxide expands rapidly. It dissolves in the cream fat - as it is a fat-soluble gas, creating air pockets, giving the cream a smooth texture, and increasing it in volume resulting in instant whipped cream. 

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 color, odor, or taste - allowing the whipped cream to retain its original flavor 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 biostatic 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 heavy cream pint, for a single-use batch. Just pour the heavy cream, sweeteners, and flavoring 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 up to 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 of them 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 mere $7 can buy a pack of 10 cream chargers. Buying in bulk brings down the costs further. You can avail of free delivery on orders above a specific price point.

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 flavors to the whipped cream. 

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Cream Chargers - Source: Walmart

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