Andrew Deming makes ice cream to order with liquid nitrogen. A regular at the Red Bank Farmers Market, the Freezy Freeze truck will have a spot in the food truck court at this week’s Appetite event at Count Basie Theatre. (Video by Alexis Orlacchio. Click to enlarge)
By ALEXIS ORLACCHIO
Sugar, spice and… liquid nitrogen? Red Bank’s Freezy Freeze is putting a chemistry-class spin on the traditional ice cream truck.
With the help of liquid nitrogen, what starts out as milk, cream and sugar quickly transforms into creamy, dense ice cream. Photographer-turned-ice cream man Andrew Deming, 37, gives his daughter, Molly, credit for his current profession and blossoming food truck.
“This is all her idea,” said Deming, who said he took the now 7-year-old into an ice cream shop that made ice cream with liquid nitrogen. “She said that being an ice cream man would be a great job, because I always get to make people happy.”
The Deming family began to make ice cream in the kitchen of their Red Bank home, and not long after, decided to bring the frozen treat to the Red Bank Farmers Market.
Anyone scared off by the terminology should not worry. Deming explains that “nitrogen comes from air, [and] the air we breathe is 78 percent nitrogen.” Using liquid nitrogen to make ice cream is safe, he said.
In its liquid state, nitrogen is beyond cold – about 322 degrees below zero – so you have to keep it in a big thermos. As soon as you give it a chance to get warm, it turns back into a gas, Deming said.
After mixing flavored organic syrup, milk, cream, and sugar, liquid nitrogen is added and “sits on the top for a split second and turns into a gas,” Deming explained. “While it’s doing that, it cools off the milk and cream and sugar and turns it into ice cream.”
Freezy Freeze ice cream is made fresh to order without any preservatives. Staple flavors are vanilla, chocolate, cotton candy and bubble gum, though coffee and root beer varieties make occasional appearances. Funky toppings such as pop rocks and spicy pecans are also offered. Vegan offerings of the ice cream are also available. The product goes for $5 a a cup, including toppings.
Environmental conservation is important to Deming and his wife, Meghan, who make an effort to integrate that principle into every aspect of Freezy Freeze, including disposable items, said Andrew.
“Our cups are compostable, our spoons are biodegradable; the drink cups look like plastic, but are made of corn,” said Deming. “We didn’t want to go to a farmers market and throw away a bunch of Styrofoam. We wanted to do it right.”
Freezy Freeze also offers fair-trade organic iced coffee for $3 a serving. Deming said he and his wife use a process in which the coffee is never actually hot. The coffee beans are soaked in water for 30 hours, triple-filtered and then mixed with water to make it “richer and tastier,” Deming said.
The truck doesn’t wander down streets trolling for business like most other ice cream trucks. When not at the Red Bank Farmers market, Freezy Freeze might be found at the Belmar boardwalk, other farm markets and festivals. This weekend, the truck will have a slot in a food truck court as part of a the Count Basie Theatre‘s smorgasbord of food-related events dubbed Appetite. It will also appear at Food Trucktoberfest on September 28 at Monmouth Park in Oceanport.
Freezy Freeze also caters birthday parties, for which Deming said he likes to dress up as a mad scientist and do science demonstrations. Since food science is also a hobby of his, he said he dips food like popcorn and Oreos in liquid nitrogen before the kids eat them, and then they can blow smoke out their nose.
For the furure, Deming said he is working on an organic sorbet and hopes to throw “real food” into the mix. Until then, Freezey Freeze liquid nitrogen ice cream and iced coffee can be found every Sunday at the Red Bank Farmer’s Market, next to the Cinnamon Snail food truck.