Carbonated Fruit

Sunday, May 1, 2005

frozen banana with grapesI was watching an episode of Good Eats one day when the idea of using dry ice in the kitchen presented itself. Alton was looking for a way to fast freeze strawberries in the kitchen. The faster the freeze, the smaller your ice crystals inside of the fruit. Why would you want tiny ice crystals inside your fruit? Big crystals in a strawberry would produce a thawing effect the equivalent of tossing shards of glass into a plastic ziplock bag of water? a big wet mess.

I thought this was really cool, as I am always looking for more excuses to play with dry ice at work. Our lab often has spare dry ice left over from incoming shipments of frozen chemicals. My coworker Jeremy and I take it upon ourselves to make fun use of it and toss ice into our tubs of soapy water, creating a huge self-producing mass of bubbles that completely takes over our dish tub. Jeremy’s favorite trick is to put chips of dry ice into eppendorf tubes: plastic tubes with a snap-shut lid. This creates a string of SNAPS when the tubes sequentially explode open.

click for larger viewI headed out to the Farmers Market and bought strawberries and other fruits to bring back to the lab to freeze down just to munch on. I ended up tossing a couple strawberries and grapes in, because frozen grapes are an entity unto themselves!

Through out the day I couldn’t help but notce a zip on my tongue when eating the grapes. Not all of the grapes exhibited this phenomenon, but some of them had something going on with the tip of my tongue! Playing throughout the day we discovered that you can only “taste” the zip when the fruit is thawed. I’m thinking this zip is carbonation from carbon dioxide being taken up by the fruit when its being frozen.

frozen orangeIt turns out I’m not the only one who thinks carbonated fruit is cool!

If you want to play with carbonating/freezing your own fruit, dry ice can often be obtained from ice cream stores. Dry ice cautions are detailed below in the following recipe.

Chocolate Carbonated Banana

First ready your container of dry ice. The dry ice should be stored in a small cooler to slow its evaporation. I used a small styrofoam box with a lid rested on top.

Handling dry ice is something to be approached with caution- it hurts! Use gloves to protect your skin if handling the ice itself. If you are deciding to get all crazy on your ice, go ahead and put on safety googles (ski goggles work too). Getting chips of dry ice in your eyes is yucky!

Be aware that dry ice creates carbon dioxide gas as it “ages”. This means that pieces of dry ice in a sealed shut container are effectively creating the conditions for a non-flammable bomb. If the build up of gas is great enough- your container will explode or burp. Burping vs exploding depends on your container volume to gas ratio:

  • (tiny sealed container + big chunk of dry ice = explosion)

Freaked out yet? If you are, go get a rubber balloon, toss a couple of chips of dry ice in it and tie off the balloon. This will give you a nice visual of what gas building forces you are dealing with. The off gassing of the dry ice will inflate your balloon for you. Cool!

frozen banana dessertNever, say never, but there are chances of suffocation around dry ice. This would occur if you stuck your head down in your ice chest full of dry ice and decided to hang out and breath in the vapors for awhile. Remember the carbon dioxide that dry ice gives off? This pushes oxygen out of the way in your ice chest- thus creating an oxygen deficient pocket. So, only supervised contact around kids please.

Now, on to the fruit.

Remove the peel from half a banana, length-wise, leaving the remaining peel to act as a dish for the banana. Make slices across the banana fruit to help facilitate easier removal later. Place your half peeled banana on top of your dry ice and lid your container. Allow the banana to freeze completely (5-20 minutes), removing to a dish when solid. Thaw the banana before attempting to eat! You don’t want to damage your tongue with your super-frozen banana. Besides the carbonation effect comes forth with thawed, not frozen fruit.

Thawing your banana is a tricky step- if you let it thaw too much, you will get a dark brown peeled puddle of banana goo. I like to wait for it too just become unfrozen by watching the ends of the fruit, which will thaw first. Drizzle chocolate syrup across your fruit and enjoy!


posted May 1st, 2005 at 3:05 pm

How interesting. Alton would be the one to unmask this. What happened with the strawberries? No pictures?

- Sylvie
posted May 1st, 2005 at 9:01 pm

The strawberries were consumed in the name of science at work. :)

posted May 2nd, 2005 at 9:00 pm

I bet that was fun. Yum.

- Sylvie
posted May 3rd, 2005 at 11:28 am

I am positively drooling since finding your site. Just wonderful??

thanks Dawn! Drooling’s good :)
? McAuliflower

- Dawn
posted May 10th, 2005 at 10:45 am

This looks so cool! I have to try it.

- Kelli
posted June 22nd, 2005 at 2:14 pm

hello hello ms mcauliflower (best name in the world, imho, and makes me *chuckle* everytime i see it )

just cruising through all the entries for dmblgit ? you know, checking out the competition ;) i loooooove the look of these fruits with frost!

- sarah
posted June 30th, 2005 at 3:57 am

Have you heard about making ice cream with liquid nitrogen? You make the custard the traditional way, add the liquid nitrogen and?ta da! Instant ice cream! I’m dying to try it but all of my friends keep imploring me not to (you know, the danger, etc., etc.). I think I’ll be fine if I use safety glasses and the big gloves welder’s (Welder’s gloves don’t protect your skin against liquid nitrogen, see following note ? McA. ) wear but so far, no one seems convinced. Sounds fun though, doesn’t it?

I’ve done this before and just wrote up an email to someone inquiring about this procedure (must be the upcoming 4th of July weekend) :)

Making ice cream via liquid nitrogen produces an great ice cream due to the small ice crystal size that is produced in the custard. The faster your freeze- the smaller the crystal- the smoother the texture. Plus it is a rather dramatic exhibition!

Just for the records, here’s text from a recent email I sent out regarding making ice cream with dry ice:

Sounds like a fun project. If you can find it (big question-mark here?) liquid nitrogen is really what you want for this project. I’ll research some more, but off the top of my head I haven’t heard of anyone using dry ice for ice cream (just for keeping it really cold once made up). Liquid nitrogen though is famed for its amazing ice cream potential. It’s poured straight into your liquid ice cream base as you stir constantly. And just like you mentioned- a smoother ice cream is the result. Though the key to using extremely cold items like that is that you really have to keep stiring quickly. Because the liquid nitrogen brings the temperature down so quickly, your ice crystals in the ice cream will be small.

If you have a supply of dry ice- I’d definitly try it though. I’m able to get my dry ice in a shaved form (as opposed to pellets). I think that would work similarly to the liquid nitrogen, and better than the pellets? Make up your custard base, chill it, and then have an assistant toss cup fulls of the shaved dry ice in the custard as you stir it. And keep tossing in dry ice until the custard firms. Remember this should take just a couple minutes as opposed to traditional ice cream. When using liquid nitrogen in the ice cream procedure- the process happens *very* quickly.

liquid nitrogen ice cream pages
- (horrible background imaging, but complete none the less
blog with info about renting a dewer (to hold liquid nitrogen)

so- where would you get liquid nitrogen? This last url says that you can find it in the yellow pages (?!). If you can’t find any in the phone book- contact a nearby university. Look up their chemistry department (we have a place called Chem Stores, within our science dept from which we purchase supplies), and sweet talk a chemistry professor.

If you can’t get dry ice shaved, I *wouldn’t* recommend shaving it yourself. At work we use a modified wood chipper with goggles and gloves as bits fly everywhere. (If you do have a clean wood chipper you want to use- make sure you have a box directly over where the shavings come out. Try not to let any chips fly away as they burn. Also, its important to have your chipper motor already started before you add dry ice to it. Gloves and goggles are a must!).

Both dry ice and liquid nitrogen contain similar warnings as I outlined in my dry ice entry?
- be extrememly carefull about touching either.
- both displace oxygen, so don’t lean over your ice chest full of dry ice too much (oh yeah- how long does it last? I’ve kept dry ice in an ice chest over night. It’ll evaporate though (maybe 1/2 to 2/3 will be gone if left overnight).
- be aware that dry ice evaporates into a gas, hence its potential in making small nonflammable bombs.
- if you do get some liquid nitrogen? don’t wear sandals, protect your toes. See if the place that gave you the liquid nitrogen can also let you borrow gloves (leather welding gloves aren’t good enough to protect against liquid nitrogen burns). Don’t just use any thermos to hold liquid nitrogen. We use Dewer flasks which are designed to vent the gaseous nitrogen.

Let me know what you experiment with, I’d love to know the results!


- Brandon
posted June 30th, 2005 at 10:16 am

Thanks for the info?I figured this was the right place. As for obtaining liquid nitrogen, the welder’s supply house where I live carries it (hence my idea to use welder’s gloves), although you have to be a contractor to buy it. I will proceed carefully and explicitly follow you advice when I decide to try it!

- Brandon
posted January 13th, 2006 at 10:03 am

[...] oregon State University are working on introducing Fizzy Fruit to Albany Elementary Schools as part of thier school lunch program [...]

posted February 8th, 2006 at 2:40 pm

I run a blog entitled The Yummy Banana which is a blog about bananas. I wanted to let you know that I will be doing a small post in the future about your carbonated bananas with a link back to your blog. Great blog btw.

  • thanks for the heads up! If you can get dry ice, I recommend playing with this. I think freezing the bananas with dry ice, and then using them in a sorbet or granita would be great.

    ps I assume you had fun with the post about opening bananas from the non-stem end, like monkeys do?


- Kevin
posted February 9th, 2006 at 8:30 am

Post up. Feel free to submit a picture of yourself and a banana if ya want. :D

  • Boy was that a come-on line or what? :)

    ?McAuliflower, who knows you say that to all the girls?

- Kevin
posted February 10th, 2006 at 6:42 am

Just my wife. :)

- Kevin
posted March 9th, 2006 at 8:05 pm

[...] Playing with dry ice and ice cream [...]

posted June 13th, 2006 at 8:06 am

I have dry ice left over from the ice cream truck. I’m new to this so I’m still fairly clueless. What do I do with the dry ice? Steve says to put it in the freezer, but after reading this, I’m kinda worried about that. Is there a way to “save” it from one day to the next?

  • Hi Kittin,

    You can put it in the freezer. It tends to evaporate away pretty easily on its own, the freezer will slow that down a bit. At work, we keep it in big slabs in a chest freezer. Each slab is wrapped in old newspaper.

    You should really try freezing some fruit with it (grapes are fun!)? for yourself since you can’t sell the fruit bits (darn!).

    Friday we made a new tasty discover that is my favorite by far:

    Peel a minneola (a type of tangerine) or other favorite citrus fruit and separate out the segments. Place them onto a paper towel on top of the dry ice. Then drizzle a tiny bit of water (about 1/4 cup) on to your dry ice to get the gas going and lid your ice container. The citrus will freeze in 30 minutes or less. Let them thaw just a touch before eating them? I swear they’re like mouthfuls of sorbet. Smooth icyness! I didn’t let mine thaw enough to see if it tingled (carbonation) but one of my co-workers swears his was fizzy.

    ? McAuliflower

- Kittin
posted June 14th, 2006 at 11:20 am

Congrats on the mention on Food & Wine! I’m always looking to see if they find a ?real’ blogger! They DID!

- Alanna
posted July 26th, 2006 at 7:20 am

I am considering putting dry ice in punch for a teen party. Is this safe?

  • HI Bette,

    Yes, this is safe- just don\’t swallow the dry ice. For this reason, putting a large chunk of it in the punch may be the best option.

    Your punch will be very cool looking!

    For creamy punch- with milk in it, the dry ice may cause lots of bubbles to form which is good and fun. Its a lot like blowing bubbles in your milk with a straw- just no straw and no blowing.

    have fun

- Bette
posted August 8th, 2006 at 9:13 am

I don’t know if you have run into this yet or not, but if you like the carbonated effect, try this: you know those whip cream dispensers that utilize food grade nitrous oxide? Well, if you can get your hands on one, and some food grade nitrous oxide canisters (can be found through kitchen supply stores) try putting some fruit in the canister, closing it then screwing in the nitrous oxide cartridge. Let it sit long enough to allow the gas to seep in (I think the shortest I did for grapes was 45 min). Now just open the canister up, and try one. They will be suprisingly fizzy! This can be done with all sorts of things, not just fruit

- rye
posted August 8th, 2006 at 4:45 pm

Hey, if you did not catch my err above, it is of course not nitrous oxide that you should use but carbon dioxide. That is not to say that you should knock nitrous oxide, it has plenty of other uses in cooking, but as far as I know it will not carbonate fruits.

  • Thanks Rye. This is a good tip. Nitrous oxide would also be tasty!
    I just recently bought one of those canisters and tried carbonated whipped cream on accident. It surprisingly changes the flavor quite a bit! It was an interesting experience that confirmed why I should order my beer from our local brew pub \”on nitrous\” as opposed to the usual carbonated beer.

    Will play with fruit whip this way!


- Rye
posted November 3rd, 2006 at 7:41 am

hey i wanted to pop i and telll you that my class was just talking about dry ice and we were wondering if it is posionouswith punch thanks

  • Clean dry ice isn’t- and there in is the crux. Make sure you have a clean supply, meaning it hasn’t been already used and recycled. Dry ice in punch is ok- just don’t ingest any chunks of it.


- Morgan
posted November 23rd, 2006 at 9:43 pm

I agree with you that frozen grapes taste great. It’s funny that not many people knew of this fact.

- Lela Iskandar
posted January 28th, 2007 at 9:36 am

Have you ever frozen watermelon? If so, what was the procedure?

I haven’t- tho that would be fun.
I’d freeze it the same way as all the other fruits: set it on top of the dry ice and nibble on it as it thaws.


- Roberta
posted February 18th, 2007 at 7:18 am

I make ice cream with liquid nitrogen all the time. I get the LN2 from a medical gas supply company. I found them in the yellow pages under medical supplies. And they deliver!! The absolute best part is that they have a 10L dewar for rental. The dewar is cheap, but the LN2 costs a little more than I thought it would.

We like the ice cream made with half and half better than that made with heavy cream and milk. There’s an after taste from the fat molecules in the heavy cream!

- Kim Christidhis
posted April 29th, 2007 at 6:15 pm

You can make fizzy fruit if you have a ISI canister for making whipped cream. Instead of using N2o you use Co2 put the fruit into the canister and charge with the Co2 let the fruit sit in the canister for about and hour. Remove the fruit and Voila!! the fruit has become carbonated.
Everybody Enjoy!!

great tip Kendall -thanks!

I’ve heard of cherry tomatoes being charged in this manner, though using two cartridges for each carbonating session.


- Kendall
posted October 8th, 2007 at 5:50 am

what is the best type of container to use for punch when including dry ice? I know that glass can shatter if a large piece is used. Is a plastic cauldren okay for a party if small pieces are used to make a bubbly brew?

- adair
posted July 2nd, 2008 at 3:32 pm

bannas,strawberries are good

- brianna
posted July 2nd, 2008 at 3:33 pm

grapes,strawberries are good at night

- brianna
posted September 27th, 2008 at 11:47 pm

Carbonating with dry ice in a closed container can be somewhat dangerous (or at least messy) if done wrong. But if you still want to try it, start out with a bit of math to determine how much dry ice to use. I ran the following through Google’s handy calculator and estimated that one and a half teaspoons of dry ice will fully pressurize half a plastic 2 liter bottle:

1L (filling up half a 2L bottle)
1.6g/mL (dry ice density)
44g/mol (weight of CO2 molecules)
100psi (max safe pressure in soda bottle)
68F (temp of cool liquid)
0.082L*atm/mol/K (energy in ideal gas)

Don’t forget that cold water holds carbonation better than warm.

- J
posted February 4th, 2009 at 2:15 pm

[...] In individual categories, Brownie Points was rated the most original with that crazy, carbonated fruit! [...]

- And the DMBLGiT? winner is? « I HEART BACON
posted May 19th, 2010 at 6:57 pm

Slice your strawberries & put them in 2-liter bottle. Or use small red grapes in there. Cap the bottle with Fizz Giz cap (available at Pressurize the bottle fully with fizz giz dispenser. Will be about 60psi in the bottle. That will decrease as the co2 infuses into the fruit.

When U R ready to eat it, open bottle (PET soda bottle) & shake the fruit out through mouth of bottle. If U wait too long, fruit will swell up to point where it won’t come out the bottle mouth. then you’ll have to sacrifice your bottle, cuttiing it open to get your fruit out. What’s cool is putting a carbonated strawberry in a glass of cold water & watching the effervescence action as co2 bubbles up from the berries.

have fun.

Strawberries! Sounds perfect. Thanks Mike.

Mmmm- fizzy strawberries on ice cream?


- Mike Spike
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