In today’s creative kitchens, there is only a fine line between a chef jacket and a science lab coat. Chefs are consistently going beyond the length to form a masterpiece, questioning everything that was available on the plate and they are not afraid of breaking the boundaries. Therefore, they began to explore opportunities in the kitchen by adopting science and technological advances in their style of cooking. As such, ingredients such as sodium alginate became an old hat and dry ice came along. Linde, the leading industrial and medical gases provider is also a key producer of dry ice. Linde provides the highest grade of dry ice for the food and beverage industry, both industrial and gastronomic usage.
Scientifically speaking, dry ice is a solid state of carbon dioxide as a result of reducing pressure and temperature of carbon dioxide until it converts into a form of clean, white snow. Subsequently, Linde compresses this particular snow further under high pressure to create the blocks, slices, and pellets according to customer’s requirements to meet its needs and compliant with the latest ISO 9001 : 2008 certified rules and regulations and obtained Halal certification.
There are various manner to incorporate dry ice into your cooking, with the most prominent case is to prolong the shelf life of profuse products. Taking into consideration the cold temperature of dry ice which lies at – 78.5°C, perishable food are consistently kept in a safety zone which prevents microbial growth, lipid oxidation, physical, biochemical and enzymatic reactions. Regardless of the duration, whether it’s a long trip or overnight shipping, dry ice is a sterling choice which is not only hassle-free by leaving no liquid as it sublimates but also a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to preserve food products.
Chef Cindy Low, Dean of Culinary Department of KDU University College Penang, is well versed in a cooking style many refer as “molecular gastronomy” or “modernist cuisine.” She has worked with many top chefs, some of whom are equipped with Michelin background, Chef Cindy is in the midst of introducing cryogenic cooking as part of the syllabus to her students in KDU University College Penang, and said that dry ice can be the baby step to the deeper realm of cryogenic cooking. To further demonstrate how it works, she had Chef Aravinthan, who is a competition trainer for students to use dry ice as griddle. Surprisingly, the low temperature of the dry ice slab instantly creates a thin layer of ice on any meat that it comes into contact with. According to Chef Cindy, The theory behind this is that any microorganism on the meat surface will be instantly frozen rendering the food safe for raw consumption.
This cooking technique works particularly well with thin slices of fish, which contains a high amount of fat, like salmon, trout, or halibut. Apart from being used as a sterilizer, dry ice also amplifies the dining experience through showcasing different extravagance, such as vapor presentation, which is a crowd pleaser as entertainment. The chefs from the Culinary Department in KDU University College Penang often harness the ability of dry ice to instantly vapor to add a misty atmosphere in the dining area. The elevation of such technique can be further enhanced by infusing aromatic ingredients such as herbs or spices into a dry ice solution, bringing the suggestion of a flavour to dinner without necessarily including that ingredient into the dish.
Indeed, dry ice is a cutting-edge and economical freezing solution that will benefit many sector of the food industry that calls for sustainability and efficiency.
SAFETY MEASURES ON HANDLING DRY ICE
With the ample amount of application you can do with dry ice, there are also some precautions one need to note when using it for food and cooking. Linde recommends these safety guidelines which are essential for an individual when handling dry ice.
STORAGE: Store and use with adequate ventilation. Do not store in tight containers or confined spaces. Storage areas should be clean and dry. The product should be stored in insulated containers that open from the top. Lids should fit loosely so the carbon dioxide vapor given off as the solid sublimes can escape into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide gas is about 1 1/2 times as heavy as air and will accumulate in low-lying areas, so ventilation must be adequate at floor or below grade level.
TRANSPORTING: Schedule a plan to pick up dry ice as close to the time it is needed as possible because dry ice sublimates at 10%, or 5 to 10 pounds every 24hours. The longer the time, the more dry ice will sublimate. During transportation, ensure that dry ice is carried in a well insulated container with ventilation of fresh air, especially in cars.
VENTILATION: The air we breathe consists of 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen and only 0.035% carbon dioxide. However dry ice has a higher content of carbon dioxide, which will accumulate in low spaces and it if it rises above 0.5% can quickly lead to oxygen deficiency, also known as asphyxiation. Symptoms include dizziness, blue nails or lips and difficulty in breathing. Therefore, adequate ventilation is required when storing and preparing dry ice. It is highly advised not to enter any confined areas with dry ice and wait until the dry ice airs out completely. In areas where dry ice is being handled, do install a pressure relief mechanism which are directed away from any personnel.
HANDLING: Considering that dry ice has a frigid temperature of -78.5ºC, always handle dry ice with protective cloth, shoes, mask and leather gloves whenever in contact with it. A prolonged direct contact with the skin will freeze the cells, causing injuries similar to a heat burn. Besides, it is also important to choose materials which can remain ductile at low temperatures, such as stainless steels, aluminum, brass and copper. Avoid materials like rubbers, plastics and carbon steels as little stress caused by the heat can cause brittleness and material fail. Eating, drinking, and smoking should also be prohibited in areas where this material is handled, stored and processed.
FIRST AID TREATMENT: In general, treat dry ice burns similar to a regular heat burn. In any case where carbon dioxide replaced the oxygenated air excessively which leads to suffocation, remove the victim from the area to an uncontaminated area and fresh air in a comfortable position for breathing. On the other case of skin or eye contact, flush the affected areas with plenty of lukewarm water for at least 15 minutes. Remove contaminated clothing and replace it with a sterile dressing. If red skin irritation appears, it will heal in time through applying antibiotic ointment. If further irritation such as blisters and the skin comes off, seek the doctor for professional treatment.
DISPOSAL: In general, waste of dry ice should be avoided or minimized whenever possible. However, in a case where you need to dispose of the dry ice, unwrap and leave it at a well-ventilated room temperature area. It will naturally sublimate from solid to gas. Never dispose of them in a sink, toilet, tiled or solid surface countertops as the extreme coldness may break the structures.
Linde Malaysia Sdn Bhd | Customer Service Centre
Phone: 1 800 883-888
Fax: 1 800 888-801