How to Carbonate Your Ice Cream

Photo: star5112/Flickr.

Fizzy, sparkling ice cream that bursts with bubbles of flavor as it melts on your tongue. Sounds like a little slice of heaven, right? If you thought the effervescent joy of carbonation was only suited for soda, you might want to think again. As blogger Esther Inglis-Arkell over at explains, it's possible to carbonate just about anything, including ice cream.

And better yet, carbonated ice cream is something you can make at home. All you'll need is a carton of ice cream, a supply of dry ice and the right container.

Here's what to do: begin by placing your carton of ice cream (make sure the carton is a paper one) and dry ice into the container. Next, seal the container and wait. The longer you wait, the more pronounced the fizzy effect will be, since it allows more time for the carbon dioxide from the dry ice to infiltrate the carton. That's pretty much it. After a sufficient amount of time has passed, take the ice cream out and give it a few more minutes to thaw slightly — it'll probably be a little too cold to eat at first because of the dry ice.

Pressure generated within the container should push the carbon dioxide from the dry ice through the paper carton, ultimately carbonating the ice cream. Eating the fizzy cold creaminess is likely to be a food sensation unlike any you have experienced before. As the ice cream melts on your tongue, expect bursts of flavor and a bubbly pressure in your mouth.

The flavor of the ice cream might also be altered slightly. Carbonic acid, formed when the carbon dioxide mixes with water in the ice cream, could be a byproduct of the process. The added acidity will give your ice cream a tangy, citrus-like flavor, so it might be better to try this technique with a fruity-flavored ice cream, depending on your palate.

The only real trick is to find the right container. One that is sealed too tightly is likely to build up pressure and explode, much like what happens when you shake up a carbonated beverage. So pick a container with small holes that will let out some of that pressure and avoid catastrophe.

The best part of the process is that you don't have to stop at ice cream. You can carbonate almost anything using this method, so long as it has enough liquid content. Try it with fruit (e.g., fizzy oranges, grapefruits or, better yet, coconuts!), marshmallows, jelly beans, etc. You can even try carbonating your coffee, so long as the coffee is in a paper cup.

Just imagine all the ways this could burst your culinary bubble. Go ahead, give it a try!