Friday, October 12, 2007

Whip It Review

I'm not kitchen gadget fanatic. For one thing, I enjoy the process of cooking, and prefer to do most things by hand. Saving a few minutes is not worth sacrificing the kitchen's sensual experiences:
- slipping the skin off an onion
- the squeak of a knife sliding through mushrooms
- the swampy resistance of stirring bigos
- the aroma of toasting shrimp shells
- the fleshy "give" when poking a perfectly rare steak to gauge doneness

For another, our stuff-to-space ratio is high enough that anything we store in our kitchen needs to earn its keep.

The George Foreman Grill* is facing eviction. Don't get me wrong; it's a perfectly good appliance. It just doesn't produce the kinds of things I want to eat right now, and doesn't enhance the experience of cooking.

The Whip-It* whipped cream maker, on the other hand, has been granted an indefinite lease for prime real estate in the refrigerator door.

This product is fantastic. It uses charger cartridges* to inject nitrous oxide gas into heavy cream. The gas-injected cream is stored under pressure in the canister, and so it doesn't actually whip until you dispense it, when the gas bubbles distributed throughout the cream can expand. (Similar to the bubbles in carbonated beverages.)

Because the prepped cream doesn't actually "whip" until it's dispensed, it can be stored up to 14 days in the refrigerator, vs. the day or two fridge life of home-made whipped cream. The other benefit is serving size. Although the whip-it does inject a full pint of cream at once, you can dispense as little as you want at a time. It's difficult to manually whip less than 1/2 cup of cream at a time, and I haven't been able to get less than 1/4 cup to work at all.

Other benefits:

- the cream is perfectly whipped; you won't accidentally whip up a batch of butter

- cream made in the the whip-it has about twice as much volume as manual beating. The packaging says 1 pt. of cream makes 4-5pts of whipped cream (vs. the 2 pts you get from manually whipping 1 pt. of cream), but I also confirmed this with my kitchen scale this morning. 2 Tbsp (1 fl. oz.) of fluid heavy cream weighed 30g, and 30g of whipped cream was over half a cup (4 fl. oz.) This means that the same-sized puff of whipped cream is both fluffier and cheaper!

- you can use the sweetener of your choice, or make unsweetened whipped cream (my preference)

- you can add flavorings to your whipped cream to make mousse-like desserts (cocoa, amaretto, etc.) I haven't tried this yet.

- you don't need any preservatives or stabilizers

The only downsides are:

- it isn't dishwasher-safe. The canister needs to be washed after each batch, and the nozzle and tip should be washed after each dispensing (otherwise you get crusty bits of cream). However, it's not a hassle to wash.

- you need to keep buying nitrous oxide chargers. These run 60-70 cents each when you buy the 10- or 24-packs, but can also be purchased in larger quanitities for a larger discount. It's still much cheaper than commercial whipped cream (and better-tasting). And, by volume, it's even cheaper than making the cream yourself, since you double the volume of whipped cream you produce, and the charger is cheaper than the amount of cream you save.

Coming soon: a mini-recipe!

* Disclosure: the Amazon product links go through my affiliate account, meaning that if you click to those links and then buy them, I will receive a commission. (As of this writing, I haven't received any amazon comissions at all.) I only include links for products I have tried myself, but if you're uncomfortable accepting a recommendation when there is profit involved, then just go to (or elsewhere) and search for the item, and I won't get the commission. That's okay. :)

No comments: