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For this Christmas, we wanted to do a particular packaging for biscuits using cotton candy. We have a machine to make it, and flavours to do different colors and flavourings.

Now, the problem is that it will shrink over time, in few hours, probably because of air humidity or other reasons. We tried to make some cotton candy and place it in a closed box (one in paper and one in plastic), but it shrunk in few hours (less than 12).

Now, we need to find a way to preserve it from shrinking for at least 24 hours, but more would be better... And we should find a do-it-yourself solution which does not involve particular equipment or materials.

A way to preserve cotton candy is to freeze it, but obviously you have to eat it frozen, or it will melt.

We thought of two other ways:

  1. Use hot hair to reduce the amount of water in the box, and then seal the box. I am not a supporter of this idea, because I believe that hot air will just melt the cotton candy (and I do not think that humidity will be reduced that much).
  2. Use CO2, which can be easily and cheaply fabricated at home (vinegar + sodium bicarbonate). Since it should be heavier than air, one could produce it in a large container, then pour the CO2 in the box containing the cotton candy, and then seal it. I think that CO2 will replace air in the box and this will reduce the amount of humidity, allowing conservation of the food.

What do you think? Have you ever tried something similar? Have you any other idea?

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The CO2 is a very creative idea, but I doubt very much that you can produce reasonable amounts, or achieve good purity, by mixing soda and vinegar. –  rumtscho Dec 12 '13 at 1:43
    
Cotton candy by its nature is going to be pretty ephemeral. If you are looking for edible packing materials, if allergies are not an issue, peanuts in the shell do very well. Popcorn is also an excellent option. –  SAJ14SAJ Dec 12 '13 at 2:39
    
@rumtscho, actually with a coffee spoon of soda and some cl of vinegar you can make enough to inflate a 1litre bottle. About the purity: naturally it will contain some amounts of water, but according to chemistry.about.com/od/chemicalreactions/f/…, the water resulting from the transformation is liquid, thus I hope the outcome can be pure enough. Anyway, I'm going to try this later... Wait for the results! ;) –  AkiRoss Dec 12 '13 at 10:06
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CO2 you make w vinegar + bicarb will be water saturated. Vinegar is after all 5% acetic acid, 95% water. If you want DRY CO2, you're better off staring with a chunk of dry ice. It only takes about 2 grams of dry ice to produce 1 liter of dry gas (room temp, 1 atm pressure). –  Wayfaring Stranger Dec 13 '13 at 23:53
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up vote 2 down vote accepted

It seems the best thing to do is to have a sealed container with little air in it. CO2 has proven to be useful, but its presence is not as important as sealing.

So, if you want to preserve cotton candy, my experimental results show that a sealed container is preferred. I obtained a conservation of 24 hours, but probably it will least 48h or even more.

EDIT: Well, sealing seems to work pretty well, but I have to report a pair of failure... 2 out 5 packages did not preserve the cotton candy for more than 24 hours, while the remaining did. On the plus side, the first experimental sealed package preserved cotton candy for more than a week.

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