Monday, July 16, 2007

Carbonate Me, O Lord

Let's just get this out of the way: I'm a big dork - but a cute one.

Okay - now that that is established, let me show you my latest squee (it's a word... shut up)

I have recently acquired a CO2 setup that I use to air up tires and run air tools when I'm offroading. It works really well and I'm finding all kinds of uses for it. It's like having a shop compressor with me everywhere I go.
(Why CO2 you ask? Because unlike the other mostly inert and readily available gases, CO2 becomes a liquid at room temperature around 700psi. So the tank is actually full of liquid CO2, which when turned back into gaseous CO2 produces a HELL of a lot more air volume than a gas that was not stored in such a compact liquidy form! So the tank lasts a very long time for its small size)





So the other day it occurred to me that there are other cool things I can do with this neato setup too... like.... FORCED CARBONATION!!!

Now I'm sure you are asking yourself:
"What is forced carbonation and what can it do for me, Anxiety Man?".

Answer:

Forced Carbonation is what happens when a liquid is put under pressure with CO2. A portion of the CO2 dissolves in the liquid, carbonating it just like a soft drink (this is, in fact, how soft drinks and beer are carbonated. There are other ways to carbonate beer - but they're all "natural" and take TIME. Forget that - we're Americans! We want it fizzy NOW!).

A few minutes of research, a few bucks at Auto Zone (Because when I think "food safety" I immediately think of Auto Zone!), and a few minutes with the Victoronox and I had this:






For now all I'm doing is keeping my 7up nice and fizzy down to the last drop. No flat gross last glass for me! But that's only the beginning of the stupidity that will ensue with this marvel.

I can carbonate ANYTHING.
DO YOU HEAR ME WORLD?!??!?!? AAAAANNNNYYYYTTTHHHIINNGGG!!!!!! (well, any liquid... maybe some solids... I dunno.... I'll get to that later)

Next stop, Chocolate Milk - CARBONATED!
I don't expect that one to turn out well as CO2 creates carbonic acid when exposed to water - which might tend to make things come out a bit sour.
I have high hopes for orange juice, though, since it's already acidic.

I foresee a long line of "What can I carbonate next" adventures coming soon. All manner of alcoholic drinks will ensue to be sure. Ready-to-go rum & coke or mimosas will be standard camping fare from now on - but what I'm really interested in is how stupid I can get with it.
I've heard of carbonated ice cream, but I'm not sure if I can do it with this setup. What about coffee? That might put a little extra punch in the morning brew (though it'll have to be cold).
Are solids possible? Can I make a fizzy carrot?

Perhaps one day I can achieve the Holy Grail of carbonation: Pop Rocks. I'm tearing up just thinking about the possibility...

-A


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