• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

  • product-image-quickten.png.a40203b506711f7664fc62024e54a584.pngDid you know that these all-volunteer forums are operated by the 501(c)3 not-for-profit Society for Culinary Arts & Letters? This holiday season, consider a tax-deductible Quick Ten Bucks to support the eG Forums and help us remain completely advertising-free. Thanks to all those who have donated so far!

e_monster

Quick Infusions by N20 Cavitation

49 posts in this topic

I just got an isi Gourmet Whip and read Dave Arnold's article about using it for quick infusions.

http://www.cookingissues.com/2010/08/11/infusion-profusion-game-changing-fast-‘n-cheap-technique/

I'd love to get a discussion going of what people have tried--both successes and failures.

I had great success with Dave's jalapeño-infused vodka but was not successful with my first attempt at creating mint-infused rum.

Has anyone had any luck with mint and/or lime.

I'm planning on trying a habanero vodka, too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been playing around with mine a bit. My initial reaction is that it is not the magic bullet every one supposed it would be. Some things infuse much better by NO2 cavitation than others.

I've had some limited success at infusing coconut into rum, but it really took a while for the flavors to develop post-infusion (as in, it was much stronger after a day). I got good results infusing basil into gin. Poor results infusing mint into rye whiskey. Although with both herbs one wonders whether I could have obtained a greater effect just by muddling.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been playing around with mine a bit. My initial reaction is that it is not the magic bullet every one supposed it would be. Some things infuse much better by NO2 cavitation than others.

I've had some limited success at infusing coconut into rum, but it really took a while for the flavors to develop post-infusion (as in, it was much stronger after a day). I got good results infusing basil into gin. Poor results infusing mint into rye whiskey. Although with both herbs one wonders whether I could have obtained a greater effect just by muddling.

How much coconut did you use and how much rum?

How was the coconut prepared? Fresh coconut cut up into pieces? Shredded?

For the mint, I have read that some people had luck. I used about 8 grams of mint sliced that I had lightly chopped with a sharp knife so as to bruise it. This was about 5 or leaves per ounce of rum which was what I figured I would have used if I had muddled them. I wonder if I needed to use more mint and cut it finer? Or perhaps the mint from my garden is not the most flavorful?

Any thoughts on the sometimes slow development of the flavor? Does the time the flavors take to develop a function of the time to outgas or do some flavor components need to oxidize?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just did a second infusion of the mint rum by using the pint of rum that didn't work so well and 40 grams of slightly sliced mint. I let it infuse for 3 minutes. This time there was a noticeable color change (greenish brown). Tasted 20 minutes later, the taste was quite nice.

I see what you mean about the flavors continuing to develop for 24 or more hours. My jalapeño vodka was the same after 24 hours, but the original mint-infused rum was definitely more flavorful after 36 hours than it was after 12.

If I can fine-tune the mint extraction, the advantage would be two-fold:

Less hassle when serving mojitos to a number of people and possibly a cleaner taste profile. But we'll see. It may end up with no benefit.

My next experiment is habanero-infused vodka.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just did a second infusion of the mint rum by using the pint of rum that didn't work so well and 40 grams of slightly sliced mint. I let it infuse for 3 minutes. This time there was a noticeable color change (greenish brown). Tasted 20 minutes later, the taste was quite nice.

I've always used a little bit of citric acid and the smallest pinch of salt when using the fast extraction with mint... I found it accentuated the mint flavor and stabilized it by preventing rapid oxidation.


Avery Glasser

Bittermens, Inc. - Producers of Bittermens Bitters & Extracts

Bittermens Spirits, Inc. - Purveyors of Small Batch Bitter Liqueurs

Vendetta Spirits, LLC. - Nano-Importer of Hand-Produced Spirits

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've had some success infusing cucumber into gin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just did a second infusion of the mint rum by using the pint of rum that didn't work so well and 40 grams of slightly sliced mint. I let it infuse for 3 minutes. This time there was a noticeable color change (greenish brown). Tasted 20 minutes later, the taste was quite nice.

I've always used a little bit of citric acid and the smallest pinch of salt when using the fast extraction with mint... I found it accentuated the mint flavor and stabilized it by preventing rapid oxidation.

Thank you. What extraction time and proportions have you been happiest with?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did a rapid infusion with gin,dry vermouth , and a chopped up green apple. Subtle , but nice...not sickly sweet like an 'appletini'.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can anyone comment on the longevity and and preservation of their n2o infusions? I've finally broken down and bought a big carton of cylinders, and hope to make the best use of them. I don't drink very much, so the ability to preserve infusions is very desirable, but I recognize that some flavorings (e.g. coffee) remain intact far longer than others.

Also, what's the thoughts on chopped vs. whole? It seems to me that using finely minced ingredients would be more efficient than whole ingredients, but reality is rarely so intuitive. I've had good luck reducing things to a paste before making liqueurs, though avoiding the lengthy filtration process would be a major benefit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My mint-infused rum and jalapeno and habanero vodkas have all been consumed over about a two month period and there was no degradation in flavor. I have no idea about how well they keep beyond that. The flavor didn't reach its maximum potential until several days after the infusion was done. I slice the jalapenos and habaneros and the result is so flavorful, I haven't had any inclination to mince. I also slice ginger and that worked great.

I cut the mint leaves but a few people have told me that it wasn't necessary that they used whole mint leaves. I will try that after we get some decent rainfall up here. Some ingredients might need mincing but nothing that I have tried so far.

Can anyone comment on the longevity and and preservation of their n2o infusions? I've finally broken down and bought a big carton of cylinders, and hope to make the best use of them. I don't drink very much, so the ability to preserve infusions is very desirable, but I recognize that some flavorings (e.g. coffee) remain intact far longer than others.

Also, what's the thoughts on chopped vs. whole? It seems to me that using finely minced ingredients would be more efficient than whole ingredients, but reality is rarely so intuitive. I've had good luck reducing things to a paste before making liqueurs, though avoiding the lengthy filtration process would be a major benefit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That the mint flavor has been preserved for two months is quite incredible, and I don't think is possible with a regular infusion. I suppose all that nitrogen cavitation just extracts a great deal of the mint oil?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What is Nitrogen cavitation?

I have heard about ultrasonic cavitation and I can understand how that works. But I cannot understand how Nitrogen can cause cavitation.

I don't think you can compress most foods.

dcarch

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Has anyone tried adding sodium metabisulfite? It seems like it might solve the preservation issue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Metabisulfite is the only food additives that gives me an instant asthma attack -- pickled peppers and such. If you use it, you might want to warn folks would would not expect a preservative in a cocktail. Chemical preservation also seems a bit anti-crafty.


Kindred Cocktails | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What is Nitrogen cavitation?

I have heard about ultrasonic cavitation and I can understand how that works. But I cannot understand how Nitrogen can cause cavitation.

NO2 is dissolved into the liquid by pressure. When the pressure is released, the NO2 comes rapidly out of solution and cavitates (i.e., forms cavities or bubbles in the liquid). These bubbles disrupt various cell membranes, etc. and this causes rapid infusion of the aromatic substances into the liquid. Under the most common usage, this wouldn't strictly speaking be cavitation. But since it is the formation of bubbles specifically that creates the effect it's not clear that something like "outgassing" is particularly apropos.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Has anyone tried adding sodium metabisulfite? It seems like it might solve the preservation issue.

Has anyone had a problem that requires the use of preservatives?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In short, "nitrogen cavitation" is the name of a biomedical technique whereby a "suspension of cells is subjected to high nitrogen pressure, which is suddenly released so as to cause the cells to burst as nitrogen bubbles form inside." *


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Has anyone tried adding sodium metabisulfite? It seems like it might solve the preservation issue.

Has anyone had a problem that requires the use of preservatives?

I have a very low alcohol tolerance. The "Cooking Issues" blog suggests that many infusions have a short shelf life, and I'd rather not have to dump any.

On the subject of "Anti-craftiness", I would consider that this is the same additive found in high quality wine; if it's found naturally on the outside of some grapes and added to $100+ fine vintages, why not use it ourselves? I may try ascorbic acid in the pepper infusions, though.

Also, a side note to the sulfite-allergic: The use of metabisulfite in homebrewing appears pretty common, both as disinfectant and preservative.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. Cavitation in ultrasonics is the collapsing of the bubbles, not the bursting of bubbles.

2. I am not sure how deep the nitrogen can actually penetrate the meat (food), and if nitrogen can indeed penetrate can it bring other flavors into the meat (food).

3. If bursting of the molecules is what is happening, would this make the food completely musshy?

In one of the link above showing the disappearance of soy sauce. It seems to me that the soy sauce had not disappeared into the meat. The soy sauce was coating on all the chicken pieces. I can see disolving gas into liquid (carbonation), but I cannot see forcing liquid into meat.

I am just curious if all the above successes of infusion are due to another mechanism.

dcarch


Edited by dcarch (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Has anyone tried adding sodium metabisulfite? It seems like it might solve the preservation issue.

Has anyone had a problem that requires the use of preservatives?

I have a very low alcohol tolerance. The "Cooking Issues" blog suggests that many infusions have a short shelf life, and I'd rather not have to dump any.

On the subject of "Anti-craftiness", I would consider that this is the same additive found in high quality wine; if it's found naturally on the outside of some grapes and added to $100+ fine vintages, why not use it ourselves? I may try ascorbic acid in the pepper infusions, though.

Also, a side note to the sulfite-allergic: The use of metabisulfite in homebrewing appears pretty common, both as disinfectant and preservative.

How long do you anticipate needing to preserve it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. Cavitation in ultrasonics is the collapsing of the bubbles, not the bursting of bubbles.

2. I am not sure how deep the nitrogen can actually penetrate the meat (food), and if nitrogen can indeed penetrate can it bring other flavors into the meat (food).

3. If bursting of the molecules is what is happening, would this make the food completely musshy?

In one of the link above showing the disappearance of soy sauce. It seems to me that the soy sauce had not disappeared into the meat. The soy sauce was coating on all the chicken pieces. I can see disolving gas into liquid (carbonation), but I cannot see forcing liquid into meat.

I am just curious if all the above successes of infusion are due to another mechanism.

dcarch

I have no idea what the mechanism is, but the method works. The material does not become mushy. When making the jalapeno vodka, I ended up with crisp flavorless pepper pieces.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. Cavitation in ultrasonics is the collapsing of the bubbles, not the bursting of bubbles.

This is a different kind of cavitation.

2. I am not sure how deep the nitrogen can actually penetrate the meat (food), and if nitrogen can indeed penetrate can it bring other flavors into the meat (food).

I think you might be misinterpreting what's going on here. You'll note that this thread is in the Spirits & Cocktails forum. What we're talking about is infusing flavors out of something and in to the liquid. We're not concerned with bringing flavors into meat or whatever.

3. If bursting of the molecules is what is happening, would this make the food completely mushy?

As far as this technique goes, it's not generally the case that one is using ingredients where this would happen or be detectible. It's normally going to be herbs or spices or vegetables or something like citrus peel.

In one of the link above showing the disappearance of soy sauce. It seems to me that the soy sauce had not disappeared into the meat. The soy sauce was coating on all the chicken pieces. I can see disolving gas into liquid (carbonation), but I cannot see forcing liquid into meat.

This is force marination, which is different from N2O cavitation infusion. In force marination you are trying to put the flavorful liquid into the meat. In N2O cavitation you are trying to get flavorful substances out of the substance into the liquid. Having performed force marination, I can tell you that the liquid penetrates quite far into the meat -- effectively all the way into thumb-sized chunks.

I am just curious if all the above successes of infusion are due to another mechanism.

Read up on the nitrogen cavitation technique. It's commonly used to lyse cell membranes without otherwise damaging the contents. This is exactly the sort of thing that would lead to rapid infusion of flavorful molecules out of herb/spice/vegetable cells into alcohol.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aren't we talking about N2O, not nitrogen? I would guess it's ability to enhance extraction of flavour compounds has more to do with the pressure allowing diffusion in and out of the material and its resonance structure giving favourable polar/non-polar attributes to transfer the compounds to the alcohol/water phase.


It's almost never bad to feed someone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[

How long do you anticipate needing to preserve it.

Well, I make a big batch of orangecello once a year....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.