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For those of us who haven’t been to school in a while, here is some chemistry 101. Nitrogen is one of 118 known elements and because it evaporates at such low temperatures, it typically exists as a gas (in fact, it makes up about 78% of the Earth’s atmosphere). This means that in order for it to remain in a liquid state it must be kept at extremely cold temperatures. Since liquid nitrogen boils at -321˚F, it freezes anything it touches. Sub Zero uses this molecular gastronomy — or the merging of science and culinary arts — to turn milk and sugar almost instantly into ice cream. So why is liquid nitrogen-frozen ice cream so good? It’s all in the flash freeze. Since the ice cream is frozen so quickly (15 seconds or less), the fat particles stay very small and the water particles don’t have time to grow into ice crystals. The rapid freezing helps preserve nutrients in the cream, yogurt, soy or rice milk!

To see the magic in action, check out: The Ice Cream Bloke – Ep 24 Sub Zero Ice Cream. Or read Popular Mechanic’s article on Sub Zero for more in-depth information.

And because nitrogen is non-toxic, odorless, tasteless and colorless, it is a safe (and fast) alternative to the traditional churning method.

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Still curious about the basic science behind ice cream? Scientific American did a podcast in 2006 on the glorious dessert. Also, if you live in Arizona or Utah, Sub Zero can come to your school for a demonstration. Clickhere for details.

Little Einstein Ice Cream

Base: Premium

Flavor: Marshmallow Cream and Fudge

Mix-ins (1st is free!): Twix, Chocolate Chips, Raspberries and Coconut Flakes