TULSA, Oklahoma (CBS NewsOn6.com/WUSA9) - Have you ever heard the words Tulsa State Fair and molecular gastronomy in the same sentence before? Probably not until now.
It may be the best science project ever at the fair: using liquid nitrogen to make really good ice cream. They do this in some high level restaurants. Engineering students in Iowa started using liquid nitrogen to make ice cream and does it like that. The idea is spreading from that state down to Oklahoma where visitors are starting to gobble it up at the state fair.
Mike Kudirka of Nitro Ice Cream employed his fair tested marketing plan: a spoon full of nitro ice cream into people's hands and eventually into their mouths and the ice cream will sell itself.
Here's why he says it's different: the faster you freeze it, the creamier and denser it is. Liquid nitrogen freezes the ice cream instantly.
"What you're doing is freezing the water in the mix. The faster you freeze that water, the smaller the ice crystals are," said Kudirka.
The less room for air, the more dense the ice cream. Here's how it works:
The liquid nitrogen is contained in big stainless steel tanks. "On a weekend I'll go through about four tanks," sahred Kudirka.
He hooks the nitrogen to the ice cream machine, pours in two and a half gallons of premium ice cream mix to which he's added vanillia, one sprays the mix, the other liquid nitrogen.
"It is almost like a freezing ice cream storm, I guess," said Kudirka.
He says the ice cream comes out at about 40 below zero. Two and a half gallons of mix will make about seven gallons of ice cream.
The process was developed by some chemical engineering students at Iowa State University and it's been a feature at the Iowa State Fair ever since.