It’s easy and fun using dry ice to carbonate fruit to make fizzy fruit. Fizzy fruit contains tingly carbon dioxide bubbles and has a slightly tangy flavor. Eat the fruit as-is or use it in recipes.
Fizzy Fruit Materials
- Dry ice
- Plastic bowl or cooler
Basically, all you need is dry ice, fruit, and a container for making fizzy fruit. Choose a plastic bowl or cooler. Plastic is less likely to get too cold to handle. Wear gloves or an oven mitt to prevent the small risk of frostbite if you use a glass or metal bowl.
Be sure to use food grade dry ice, such as you might find at a grocery store or restaurant. There is also industrial dry ice, which isn’t suitable for food because it may contain unhealthy impurities that also affect flavor.
How to Carbonate Fruit
- Cut fruit into slices or chunks so you’ll get better saturation with carbon dioxide bubbles. You need to slice large fruit, like apples, oranges, lemons, and bananas. Cut grapes, strawberries, and other small fruit in half.
- You’re all set if you have dry ice pellets. However, if you have large chunks instead then you need to break them up. To do this, put the dry ice in a paper bag or cover it with a clean cloth and strike it with a mallet or hammer. Aim for small pieces, not dry ice powder.
- To make frozen fizzy fruit: Place a layer of dry ice in a bowl. Set the fruit on top of the dry ice. If you like, you can add another layer of dry ice or stir the dry ice and fruit together.
- To make fizzy fruit without freezing it: Place a layer of dry ice in a bowl. Put a small cutting board or clean towel over the dry ice and set the fruit on top of the cutting board. The cutting board or towel provides thermal insulation that protects the fruit from freezing.
- Allow at least 10 minutes. You’ll get better results if you allow an hour or two. During this time, dry ice changes to carbon dioxide gas. The pressure of the change pushes dry ice into the fruit.
- For maximum fizz, use the fruit within an hour. Over time, the fruit will go flat, much like an open can of soda.
Fizzy Fruit Recipe Ideas
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- Use fizzy fruit to chill drinks. Fizzy strawberries perfectly complement champagne!
- Make fizzy banana slices and dip them in chocolate. Alternatively, use fizzy bananas in a banana split.
- Make fizzy fruit topping by mixing sliced fruit, a bit of sugar, and a small amount of water to make a syrup. Stir dry ice into this mixture to carbonate it. Use it as a topping over ice cream or cake.
- Stir together sliced fruit, softened ice cream, and dry ice to make fizzy dry ice ice cream.
Fizzy Fruit Fun Facts
- Fizzy fruit tastes different from uncarbonated fruit. Carbon dioxide reacts with water in fruit to produce a small amount of carbonic acid. This gives fruit a tart, citrus flavor.
- Carbon dioxide bubbles trigger a mild pain response in nerves of the tongue and mouth. Ironically, the slight pain enhances flavor.
- Fizzy fruit may be a different color from normal fruit. This is because many colored fruits are natural pH indicators. Carbonating fruit lowers its pH (make it more acidic), causing a color change. Red cherries may turn orange, while blueberries may turn red.
Carbonate Other Foods
You can carbonate other foods and drinks.
- Pour coffee into a paper cup, surround the cup with dry ice, and get cold fizzy coffee. Alternatively, drop dry ice into coffee. Let the dry ice change into gas before drinking the coffee.
- Carbonate vegetables just like fruit. The process works best with soft vegetables, so you may wish to cook a hard vegetable before using dry ice to get the best results.
- Make carbonated ice cubes. Add dry ice to water and freeze it to get fizzy ice. Or, surround a paper cup of water with dry ice. Of course, an easier method is to pour seltzer water into an ice cube tray and freeze it.
Fizzy Fruit Safety Tips
- Dry ice is cold enough to cause frost bite. Handle it with tongs (which will “sing” as the dry ice sublimates), gloves, or an oven mitt.
- Similarly, fresh fizzy fruit may be as cold as dry ice (around -109 °F or −78 °C). Give it time to warm up before consuming it. You can test the fruit by touching it to make sure it’s safe to eat. Using thin fruit slices reduces the risk of frost bite because the fruit warms up faster.
- Never store dry ice in a sealed container. Pressure build-up from dry ice changing to carbon dioxide gas can burst the container. If you make fizzy fruit in a cooler, don’t seal the lid.
- Housecroft, Catherine; Sharpe, Alan G. (2001). Inorganic Chemistry. Harlow: Prentice Hall. p. 410. ISBN 978-0-582-31080-3.
- Verma, N. K.; Khanna, S. K.; Kapila, B. (2008). Comprehensive Chemistry for Class XI. New Delhi: Laxmi Publications. ISBN 978-81-7008-596-6.
- Yaws, Carl (2001). Matheson Gas Data Book (7th ed.). McGraw-Hill Professional. ISBN 978-0-07-135854-5.