How aerosol cream works
The cream is not actually already whipped in the can; rather aerosols in the can aerate the cream as it is sprayed and cause it to foam out, giving it the appearance and texture of cream that has been whipped.
The cream that is used is UHT (ultra high temperature) treated. Stabilizers and sugar (up to 13%) are added. Then, when it is packaged into the can, gas propellants are added that make it foam out of the can when used.
To use a can of aerosol cream, give the can a few gentle shakes. Turn the can completely upside down, so that the nozzle points straight down — the manufacturers say that using the can at an angle causes the pressurized gas to leak out, which in turn causes the problem people have most frequently, which is that they can tell there is cream left in the can, but there isn’t enough gas left to bring it out.
Wipe the nozzle off after use — don’t lick it, as bacteria from your mouth can cause the cream in the can to spoil faster when you put it back in the fridge.
Apply to items just before serving, as it has a tendency to “melt” (or rather, collapse) in a few minutes after it comes into contact with air.
In France, you have been able to buy the classic whipped cream called “Crème Chantilly” (aka Chantilly Cream, whipped cream flavoured with natural vanilla pods from Madagascar) in aerosol cans since the early 1970s.
See also: Reddi-wip
Extremely useful as a picnicking dessert topping;
- Jazz up a store-bought pie by piping spray-can whipping cream around the edges;
- Real whipped cream just can’t compete when it comes to how spray-can whipping cream spreads out and presents on top of food.
Real whipped cream
1 7oz (200 ml) can of aerosol cream = 3 cups (750 ml) whipped cream
Even though aerosol cream is treated and packaged, it doesn’t have a very long shelf life. Keep it refrigerated, and once opened, use within a few days.
Aerosol cream started, as do so many things, by accident.
A student at the University of Illinois in the early 1940s was testing the preservation of cream with carbon dioxide under pressure. His problem was that the cream would foam out of the can in a whipped state every time he opened it to take a sample. A faculty member pointed out that the student’s problem might actually be an opportunity. They experimented a bit, and switched to using nitrous oxide as it impacted the flavour less than carbon dioxide. Together with another faculty member, the three of them took out a US patent for this idea (the university released the patent to them, figuring it had no commercial value.) They formed a company called Aerated Products Corporation in 1946 and began marketing the product. Americans returning home from the war had a fun, new food item waiting for them.
Aerated Products’ whipped cream came in a refillable container that had to be returned to be refilled.
By 1948, their main competitor, Reddi-wip, was born with a more convenient disposable, single-use container and a better nozzle.