Jump to content
  • 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 a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
Anonymous Modernist 347

Liquid nitrogen Dewars, etc

Recommended Posts

Chef Rubber (www.chefrubber.com) has some reasonably priced liquid nitrogen Dewars, cryo-gloves and aprons, double-walled bowls and liquid separators, etc. A 6 liter Dewar is only $358, and a 10 L $410 -- a far cry from some of the ~$1000 prices I'd heard elsewhere. The holding time is about 109 days, and they include a dipper for removing the LN2 from the container.

Now the next question is whether it is safe to transport the LN2 in a car.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

A few things about buying liquid nitrogen dewars

1. Check around for deals - I found a set of 2 - 20L dewars for $500 on a lab auction site. You can sometimes find some deals on ebay although not as much.

2. Be careful if you are going to buy your dewars used, the principal behind a dewar is a double walled vacuum chamber which works as an insulator. Sometimes when buying a dewar the vacuum chamber has beencompromisedand thus you loose your liquid nitrogen a lot faster.

With all of that in mind, I checked out the chef rubber dewar and it seems like a pretty good deal for a new 10L. Although the item description states that the dipper is for removing the liquid nitrogen I would double check with them because anytime I've seen dippers, they were for submerging products in the liquid nitrogen (they areperforatedwith holes on the bottom of the wand).

When I transport my liquid nitrogen I wedge my dewar between the door of my hatchback and my backseat. It is also helpful to strap it down using some bungie cables or something similar. The biggest concerns with transporting it isaffixationdue to the release of the gas, so you solve this by riding with your windows down. The second biggest concern is having liquid nitrogen thrown about the car if you happen to stumble into a car accident, you can come close to solving this by securing the liquid nitrogen in a part of the car or truck that prevents it from coming near you should you be in an accident. Although both of those scenarios are unlikely, you still need to be vigilant when working with liquid nitrogen. Good luck and if you have any other questions, you know where to come.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I bought the Dewar from Chef Rubber,but the dipper they shipped had holes in the bottom and was used to immerse samples, and not for extraction of the nitrogen. I called them, and they admitted that is was their error on the web site, and sent me a proper dipper.

Now that I have it, I guess I need to figure out something cool to do with it, other than smashing nasturtium leaves!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Robert Jueneman said:

Now the next question is whether it is safe to transport the LN2 in a car.

The short answer is NO. If the Nitrogen should leak out - maybe the Dewar could fall over if you are involved in an accident the nitrogen will boil quickly to make nitrogen gas and this will displace the air in your car and you will suffocate - not a good idea. You can transport liquid nitrogen either in the boot (US trunk) of the car only if it has a separate sealed bulkhead - not in a car with fold down rear seats. It is best to use a van (US truck) with a sealed rear compartment or a trailer. You should inform your insurers that you will be transporting liquid nitrogen (otherwise you may find your insurance is invalidated) and you should display a cryogen in transit yellow warning sign.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Now the next ques­tion is whether it is safe to trans­port the LN2in acar.

The short answer is NO. If the Nitrogen should leak out ' maybe the Dewar could fall over if you are involved in an acci­dent the nitro­gen will boil quickly to make nitro­gen gas and this will dis­place the air in your car and you will suf­fo­cate ' not agood idea. You can trans­port liq­uid nitro­gen either in the boot (US trunk) of the car only if it has asep­a­rate sealed bulk­head ' not in acar with fold down rear seats. It is best to use avan (US truck) with asealed rear com­part­ment or atrailer. You should inform your insur­ers that you will be trans­port­ing liq­uid nitro­gen (oth­er­wise you may find your insur­ance is inval­i­dated) and you should dis­play acryo­gen in tran­sit yel­low warn­ingsign.
Thanks, Peter. I was aware of the asphyxiation hazard, and had planned to drive with the windows open. Unfortunately, my SUV doesn't have a separate trunk, although I guess I could put it on the roof. But never in a million years would I have thought to talk to my insurance company, or display a HAZMAT sign. This was for a class in Modernist Cuisine I am planning to teach in Santa Fe, about 60 miles away, but all things considered, it just isn't worth it. Now a question for you and Joe Lipinski. Are you using liquid nitrogen as part of your modernist cuisine cooking, or are you just familiar with it from your occupation, e.g., a dermatologist of something? I've been thinking about starting a thread on liquid nitrogen techniques and recipes on eGullet, in part because the Cooks Forum doesn't seem to be very widely read. But if there is any interest, I suppose we could start one here.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Judy, just so someone doesn't misunderstand you, you must NEVER, NEVER, EVER screw the lid on tight on a Dewar or other container of liquid nitrogen, e.g., a Thermos of it, whether you are transporting it or otherwise. A liter of liquid nitrogen will turn into 700 liters of gaseous nitrogen as it vaporizes, and that is enough to cause a very serious, concrete-busting, room destroying explosion. For this reason, Dewars may have a small lock on them to prevent misuse, but they do not have a tight screw-down lid. Instead, they are explicitly DESIGNED to leak, safely, albeit slowly.

For that reason, don't store the Dewar is a tightly closed room, and certainly not in something like a walk-in refrigerator. You might not be able to walk out again!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


As Robert said, be careful when transporting Ln2 - I, myself never thought about letting my insurance company know that I am transporting Ln2 or also posting a sign on my vehicle indicating that I am transporting Ln2, so thanks Robert.

As for uses, the book lists some of the uses; You can also find some other techniques at cooking issues - http://www.cookingissues.com/primers/liquid-nitrogen-primer/ . Although the book and cooking issues covers most of the techniques you can find some new ones here and there... also don't forget to use your imagination.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Cooking Issues article by Dave Arnold cited by Joe is quite comprehensive. In particular, the Arizona State University PDF on cryogenic safety should be required reading for anything thinking about using LN2.Cf.http://ets.fulton.asu.edu/files/shared/CryogenHandling-FSE.pdf.

I recently had the tasting menu luncheon at the famous Eleven Madison Park in NYC, and during the meal they took me back into the kitchen where they fixed an "edible cocktail" made with LN2 ice cream, some diced apples, and some pomegranate juice (I think). While delicious and impressive, I was shuddering the entire time because their very casual attitude towards safety.

The woman who was preparing the "cocktail" was wearing a cotton chef's apron over her clothes, had no gloves or goggles, was handling the ice cream in what appeared to be an insulated Dewar with her bare hands, and was stirring the ingredients with a metal spoon, stll with her bare hands!

Good Grief, people!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By kostbill
      I would like to buy some pectinex ultra sp-l.
      However I am worried about the temperature during the shipping time.
      I read that the storage temperature should be between 2 and 8 C. It works best from 15 to 50 C, and if it stays a lot of time in 25 C, it will gradually be deactivated.
      It needs a week to come here (Greece), then will it affect its abilities?
      Do you know if I can find a document somewhere that explains the gradual loss of power as a function of time and temperature?
      Did you have any experience with pectinex not working well due to bad storage?
    • By Galchic
      Hello, folks, thanks for reading.
      My husband thinks, I should start selling my popcorn seasonings (which I make for my family), it’s a good product. But I'm not sure if it’s interesting to other people... So, what do you think, guys?
      Our story: 
      We’ve bought an air popper machine, but popcorn came out pretty tasteless. Then, we’ve bought different “popcorn seasoning” mixes... But it always ends with all the seasoning at the bottom of the bowl. Then, we've added butter, oil and so on before seasoning...  we got soggy, chewy popcorn. Lot’s of disappointments…
      When we almost gave up… the magic happened! I figured out the way to make seasonings that:
      Stick to popcorn, but not sticky to fingers (or T-shirt  , Easy to apply, May be pre cooked in bulk and stored… And popcorn appears crunchy, tasty, thoroughly covered with seasoning.  
      Sounds good, yep? Now, when I want to treat myself  - I only need 2 mins to turn tasteless popped popcorn to a real treat.  
      The only moment - it request 1 extra effort: after you toss it over popcorn, you need to microwave it for 1 min, and stir after.
      So, I was wondering, if you like popcorn like myself - would this seasoning be interesting for you to purchase? Are you ready for a little extra work (microwave & stir) in the goal to flavor popcorn, or it feels too much effort?
      As I have no experience in manufacturing and retail, your answers would help me to make a very important decision - to dive in or not... 
      Thanks in advance for your answers, it means the world to me.
    • By lindaj1
      Is there any recipe from the modernist universe or any other galaxy to make ketogenic (low carb) puff pastry and strudel type doughs?  Unusual ingredients OK.  There must be a way...
    • By haresfur
      I got to thinking after the disgusting job of separating globs of fat from sous vide short ribs and debating never doing them that way again. If the fat renders out in a braise, but not in the sous vide, what temperature would you need to turn the fat liquid to get rid of it? Is it below well-done or do you really have to cook the shit out of it? Is it just temperature or a time&temperature thing?
      Along those lines, what happens with marbled, tender cuts? where is the sweet spot between solid fat and something more palatable?
    • By Daily Gullet Staff
      By John Sconzo

      The Daily Gullet is proud to present this, the first in a multi-part, front-row report on the recent "Spain and the World Table" conference. Watch for subsequent installments in this topic.

      In his introduction of Ferran Adria, Thomas Keller -- perhaps the most celebrated American chef ever -- described four elements that go into making a great chef. The chef must be aware. Once aware of one’s culinary and other surroundings that chef can then be inspired, which leads to the ability to interpret those surroundings. But a great chef does not stop there. Instead, the great chef continues to evolve. Ferran Adria, perhaps more than any other chef who has ever lived, is the embodiment of those four elements.

      The moment that Ferran Adria strode towards Thomas Keller on the stage at the CIA/Greystone’s World of Flavors’ “Spain and the World Table” Conference was electric -- as if a giant Van de Graf generator had been turned on. The feeling didn’t subside when Adria took the stage from Keller; it only became more pronounced as the packed crowd rose to its feet, raining applause, admiration and love on the Spanish master. Adria accepted the response with aplomb, and gave it right back to the audience -- and to his fellow Spanish cocineros, who were standing off to the side. He brought each one up to join him on the stage for a rousing thank-you to the conference organizers, sponsors and participants. Once this emotional release subsided, Adria got down to what everyone had been waiting for -- his discussion and demonstration.

      Ferran Adria, with eyes sparkling like the finest cava, began speaking Spanish in a voice as gravelly as the beaches of the Costa Brava, while Conference Chairman Jose Andres translated. The crowd, hushed and straining for every word, moved forward in their seats as Adria explained El Bulli and himself, with a lesson in recent culinary history thrown in. Ferran explained that El Bulli is not a business. While offshoots of El Bulli are operated on a for-profit basis, the restaurant runs without profit as a primary motivation. For example, he said, the greatest difficulty they have is distributing reservations. Given the extraordinary demand and the severely limited supply, he explained that they could simply raise the price of a meal to the point where the supply and demand met. Indeed, the price of a meal at El Bulli is in itself quite reasonable given the stature of the restaurant and well within means of most motivated diners should they be able to get there, and this is how Adria prefers it. He stated that he was not interested in cooking solely for those with the most money. He prefers to work for people with a true interest in exploring the limits of cooking with him. To this end he showed a short film depicting “A Day in the Life . . .” of El Bulli set to the Beatles’ song of the same name. The film showed a couple’s response to the experience.

      Ferran’s voyage into creativity began with a visit to Jacques Maxima at Le Chanticleer Restaurant in Nice, France. He learned from Maxima that to be creative is not to copy. This idea changed his entire approach to cooking -- from making classic cuisine to making his own. Aware of elaborate books of French cuisine, Adria resolved to catalogue his work, the results of which are the richly detailed El Bulli books, published by period. These books, as wonderful as they are, are huge and extremely expensive. During his presentation, Adria announced -- and demonstrated -- that the individual dishes photographed and described in a chronology within each book are all now available online at elbulli.com.

      He finished the philosophical discussion by talking about the general style of haute cuisine that he and others are engaged in. While others have coined the term “molecular gastronomy” to highlight the scientific component of the creativity involved, Adria rejected it, saying that all cooking is molecular: most of his techniques are in fact rather simple and don’t employ radical new technology. Most of the technology that they do use has been around for some time; they have simply adapted it to their own purposes. Nevertheless, he applauds contributions to gastronomy from Harold McGee and other food scientists, and welcomes their collaboration in the kitchen. He has yet to find a term that describes the movement: as of now, he feels that there really is no good name for this style of cooking.

      More than any other single thing, Ferran Adria is known for the use of “foams” in cooking. While he is proud of his achievements with foams, he stressed that while appropriate in some circumstances, the real utility of foams is limited. He bemoans their ubiquity -- and wishes to not be blamed for others’ poor deployment of the concept. In the course of describing this and other techniques, Adria made a point of stating that using them should not be inferred as copying. Techniques and concepts are to be used and shared. He invited everyone to learn and harness whatever they found interesting, and to employ it in to their own pursuits.

      Another set of techniques discussed and demonstrated by the master and his assistant, Rafa Morales from Hacienda Benazuza, included three types of spherification. These included the use of calcium chloride (CaCl) and sodium alginate as well as the converse, and exploration of a new agent, gluconodeltalactone. The original combinations of alginate into CaCl for “caviar” production, and CaCl into alginate for larger “spheres” have chemistry-related limits as to what can be sphericized. In private correspondence, Harold McGee explained to me that Adria described encapsulating a mussel in its own juice. While this would make the dish technically an aspic, unlike conventional aspics it remains a liquid. Adria said that though gluconodeltalactone is very new, and they are just beginning to get a handle on it, he is very excited by it. He also demonstrated a machine for spherification on a larger scale than they had originally been able to do, as well as liquid nitrogen and freeze-drying (lyophilization) techniques. At the conclusion of his demonstration -- and thus the Conference -- the audience once again awarded him a standing ovation.

      While Adria’s appearance was the culmination of the conference, the energy it produced was not just because of his stature in the world of gastronomy -- it was also due to the excitement generated by the conference that preceded it. If there had previously been any doubt, Thomas Keller’s welcome of Adria was a clarion: Spanish cuisine has landed on North American shores and is finding a niche in the North American psyche. Spanish cuisine -- in its multifaceted, delicious entirety -- lives here, too.

      + + + + +

      John M. Sconzo, M.D., aka docsconz, is an anesthesiologist practicing in upstate New York. He grew up in Brooklyn in an Italian-American home, in which food was an important component of family life. It still is. His passions include good food, wine and travel. John's gastronomic interests in upstate northeastern New York involve finding top-notch local producers of ingredients and those who use them well. A dedicated amateur, John has no plans to ditch his current career for one in the food industry. Host, New York.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...