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The Story of Infusing Nitrous Oxide Into Cream to Produce ‘Whipped Cream”
Nitrogen accounts for approximately 78% of the atmospheric air we breathe. When you produce whipped cream with a whisk- you are essentially infusing the air into the milk fat. In order to make whipped cream, you must have a “stabilizer”. In heavy (whipping) cream, you will find a minimum of 28% milk fat, which will blend with the milk fat and create “whipped cream. Heavy whipping cream is closer to 34%- sometimes the result using this is a product which is “too stiff”. Reason: when you are making "whipped cream" the "old fashion" way (whipping the cream), you are infusing the atmospheric nitrogen (78% of the air we breathe is nitrogen) into the milk fat. Using the nitrous chargers for preparation of whipped cream is the most efficient way of delivering the gas.
Nitrous oxide cream chargers, containing nitrous oxide, have been manufactured and used to produce whipped cream since the mid 20th century. Although the story of the “discovery” of this phenomenon is vague, the fact is that the Europeans developed this technique. In fact, the practice was developed in the region of Southern Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary. Although this spans several countries, the practice was initially limited to a very small geographic area. Nitrous Oxide Chargers are typically produced in an 8 gram size. In this region, because of the expense associated with actually forming the cartridges, the manufacturers had a system for “re-filling” the chargers. Much like a deposit on a bottle, customers could return the charger to the vendor, and the charger would be re-filled.
Today, nitrous and carbon dioxide (seltzer water) chargers are consumed world wide and very popular. This makes returning them and “re-filling” the charges impractical. However, the steel is easy to recycle, and consumers are encouraged to recycle the steel.
Production of whip cream chargers is limited to essentially 2 parts of the world- Europe (the original area where the technique was perfected and gained popularity) and (more recently) the Republic of China (Taiwan). Some people are very reluctant to use the Chinese products, but this article makes no recommendations. For a clarification of which the origins of brands, we suggest you review the following link: The Truth About Nitrous Oxide Chargers
In order to use the nitrous charger, you must use a whip cream dispenser. Production of these devices has historically been in the same locations as the production of the cartridges. However, more recently the same facility in China has developed production, and the results have been reported as very good. The process essentially involves placing a charger into a plastic or metal charger holder and puncturing the nitrous charger and infusing the gas into the whipped cream maker.
Historically, there were 2 types of nitrous oxide chargers that required 2 distinct types of whip cream makers. There was a “push button” model that Kisag of Switzerland developed, and a much more popular lever fill that requires a cartridge holder. To further fragment the “standards” of this industry, there were numerous threading sizes for the charger holders.
Kisag was sold to iSi in 2002, and now the charges are mostly just the “puncture” type 8 gram using a screw charger holder. There are some variations; iSi has an “Easy Whip” series which have a “male” threading. This is not compatible with most other charger holders.
Although there are a very limited number of machines that use 16 gram chargers (they are a different size), the standard size whip cream and soda charger is 8 grams. In fact, be careful of companies who claim they have 8.5 grams of nitrous oxide in their chargers its just not true!
Perhaps the most fragile part of the process is the piercing pin that is used to puncture the 8 gram nitrous (or CO2) charger. None of the companies will replace this pin. However, NitroKit is a very neat little gadget that can be attached to the head of standard whip cream makers (it uses the “standardized” threading) and will allow the use to continue to use a whip cream which is not properly puncturing the chargers. This useful little accessory tool for is available on this site- please check the following link: NitroKit Charger Piercing Tool
Some of the brands of nitrous oxide cream chargers available for sale in the US and EU markets include the following brands: Whip-It!, ISI, Cafe Creme, Creme 24, EZ Whip, Gourmet, BestWhip, Mr. Creamy, Liss, PureWhip, Sweets, EasyWhippets. Review our site to learn more about the truth of the origins of these brands .