can you eat food frozen with liquid nitrogen
In this brief guide, we will address the query, “can you eat food frozen with liquid nitrogen?” We will also discuss the different usages of nitrogen in the food industry and its effect on human health.
Can you eat food frozen with liquid nitrogen?
No, you can not eat food frozen with liquid nitrogen. Although liquid nitrogen is used during the industrial process, consuming food with liquid nitrogen present on it can be prejudicial for your health and lead to serious injuries.
In the next paragraphs, we will give you a wider explanation of why you should avoid consuming food with liquid nitrogen on it.
What is liquid nitrogen?
Despite its recent usage in gastronomical creations, liquid nitrogen rather than an ingredient is the liquified form of nitrogen gas.
Yes, the harmless gas nitrogen that we breathe every minute! But it was cooled down to such low temperatures that it became liquid. It is odorless and colorless.
Liquid nitrogen is produced by the fractional distillation of liquid air. It boils at 77 K (-195.8°C). Because it needs to be stored in insulated containers vented, and according to the design of the container, it is possible to store it for up to a few weeks.
What are the uses of liquid nitrogen?
Due to its extremely cold temperature and low reactivity, liquid nitrogen has numerous applications in the industry, such as:
- Freezing and transporting of food products
- As cryoprotectant of biological samples, such as genetic samples, sperm, and eggs
- Coolant of materials
- Coolant for molecular gastronomy
Is liquid nitrogen used in the food industry?
Thanks to its low temperature, liquid nitrogen is widely used in food processing. Whether it is meat, seafood, fruits, vegetables, or poultry, liquid nitrogen can quickly freeze foods, this would diminish the chance of microbial growth on foods.
Besides its low price, the rapid freezing caused by liquid nitrogen encourages the formation of small crystals that would help keep the original moisture, quality, and texture for a longer period!
Why has the consumption of food frozen with liquid nitrogen become trendy?
Not too long ago, some new dishes like “Dragon’s breath”, heaven’s breath, or nitro puff became popular on the internet. It was shocking to see smoke coming out of people’s mouths but it was an experience a lot of people wanted to give a try.
Even though liquid nitrogen has been used in molecular gastronomy as a coolant – it is poured directly onto the food which needs to be cooled causing it to freeze. And it is also used in restaurants to give a wow factor before serving a dish.
What health effects do consuming food with liquid nitrogen have?
After the viral consumption of these cereals or cheese puffs covered in liquid nitrogen, the FDA (the Food and Drug Administration) has warned the population about the effects that consuming this form of nitrogen may cause on their health.
Severe reports of injuries caused by the immediate consumption of liquid nitrogen present in beverages or food. Because of its low temperature, the vapor produced by liquid nitrogen can quickly freeze skin tissue and eye fluid, which may cause severe cold burns, and permanent eye damage, even if the exposure was brief!
Liquid nitrogen vapor may also be the cause of breathing difficulties and severe damage to internal organs.
But let us remember that the health-threatening factor is the immediate consumption of liquid nitrogen vapor, if you wait long enough to permit its full evaporation then it is safe to consume, that is why it can be used in molecular gastronomy and food processing without any side health effects.
What do we recommend?
As we have discussed above, the potential harm of consuming liquid nitrogen frozen food comes with the instant consumption of liquid nitrogen vapor. The ideal would be to consume it after the full evaporation of this compound.
It is better to avoid the usage of liquid nitrogen in your kitchens, but if you handle it, the best would be to attend all the risk assessments, standard operating procedures, and of course, emergency operating procedures.
When handling chemicals you should always be extremely careful, sometimes the exposure to these compounds can be fatal or cause permanent damage to your skin, eyes, or organs.
In this brief guide, we have addressed the answer to the question “can you eat food frozen with liquid nitrogen?” We have also discussed how nitrogen is used in the food industry as well as other queries related to the subject at hand.
Hope you found this blog useful. If you have any questions, please let us know.