What is Blast Freezing?
Blast freezing, also known as blast chilling, shock freezing, flash freezing, deep freezing and rapid cooling, is a method used to rapidly bring down the temperature of food products.
Unlike standard freezers, blast freezers operate at a much lower temperature range. The typical temperature range for a blast freezing unit is around -40 degrees Celsius. These blast freezing units can house up to 33 pallets of the food product and cater to a wide range of products including meat, fish, plant based and dairy goods.
Manufacturers see many benefits from blast freezing their products; Generally, the faster you can freeze a food product down, the better the resulting product will be in terms of bacterial growth, taste, texture, and shelf life.
Does Blast Freezing affect product quality?
When water turns to ice, the molecules expand, and it is this expansion that causes damage to the cells of the food, whether it be protein, fruit, vegetables etc. Therefore, the temperature of the product must be brought down as rapidly as possible, using highly cooled forced air induction.
The faster the freezing process is the smaller the structure of the ice crystals that form within the cell. The smaller the crystals, the less likely they are to burst through the cell wall, affecting taste and texture.
The benefits go far beyond the texture. Blast freezing locks in the nutritional value and flavour of food. Chilled food items lose their nutritional value every minute that goes by, however, freezing locks in those nutrients and preserves the quality of the food.
Blast freezing helps achieve the same quality as fresh food, yet the method increases the shelf life and prevents bacteria from rapidly multiplying.
How long does Blast Freezing take?
Just like traditional freezing, the time it takes to blast freeze food items depends on the density of the product and the packaging. The denser the product the longer it will take, however, the modern method is significantly more efficient. Bread, a low-density product, usually takes around 8 hours to reach temperatures around -18 degrees Celsius whilst extremely dense products, such as butter, pork and beef can take much longer to freeze. The timing is important, and care should always be taken to conduct trials at the beginning of any new operational process.
If you are wanting to increase the shelf life of your product whilst enhancing its taste, texture, nutritional value and appearance then investing in blast freezing services is the right choice for your business.
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