Food is one of the basic necessities of humans. We all are fond of a variety of food that we need to store in a large quantity to overcome the natural process of contamination of food and keep our favorite food products fresh and healthy. It is important that we provide a temperature that prevents the growth of bacteria and it is only possible with the process of freezing. Based on different features there are a variety of freezers available in the market. Blast freezer is one such device that provides the perfect temperature range for safe food storage.
USES OF BLAST FREEZER
Also called shock freezers, blast freezers are designed to bring down the temperature of foodstuff very rapidly. Blast freezer is a common device in commercial kitchens to preserve seafood, meat, dairy products, confectionaries, leftovers, and cooked foods. Restaurants, catering units, school canteens, bakeries and ice-cream parlors find blast freezer as a very useful component as it can reduce the temperature of a food from +70?C to -18?C in less than 4 hours. A wide variety of blast freezers are readily available in the market with different energy savings, auto defrost and modes for noise reduction.
Preservation of foodstuff is done with mainly one intention, i.e., transport or store the food products safely and the main concern here lies is to stop time. The food has to be stored in such a way that it retains its freshness and texture. Traditional methods of preservation were too slow to accomplish this objective.
ORDINARY FREEZER VS BLAST FREEZER
When we freeze our food in ordinary freezers, the water inside crystallizes into ice. The size of the crystals is directly proportional to the time taken by the freezing process. The large size of the ice crystals damage the food materials by causing phenomena like cell bursting, which degrades the quality and flavor of foods.
Blast freezer works on the principle of very rapid freezing causing the reduced size of the crystals formed. A smaller size of the crystals does less damage and preserves food at a higher quality. Once the food is “blast frozen” it can be moved into a normal freezer for longer-term storage – as long as this one stays cold enough for the food to stay frozen.
WHAT IS SPECIAL ABOUT BLAST FREEZER
Blowers are used in blast freezers to pass on chilled air over the food surface to freeze it down rapidly. Movable trays are provided in modern blast freezers for customizing foods’ position for freezing. In a conventional freezer, the air circulating inside gets stagnated as the food is stacked over one another. The cold air pumped by the cooling coils has to cool both the stagnant air and the stored food. This, in turn, becomes the reason for a long time in ordinary refrigeration.
Blast freezer uses a different mechanism to overcome this problem. There always big space between the trays is maintained in blast freezers. Fans continuously pump cold air behind the racks in a smooth laminar fashion. Three different chilling modes are also available in a blast freezer as follows:
- Soft Chill reduces the food temperature to +3 C.
- Hard Chill reduces the food temperature to-15 c. Hard Chill is ideal for food products with high-fat content such as broths, cut meat, and portioned meals.
- Shock Freeze is used to reducing foods’ temperature to -18 C within 4 hours.
Some precautions are also needed while using the blast freezers. Too hot food in large quantities should not be kept for freezing as it will increase the temperature of the freezer which affects the efficiency of the freezer. The air circulating inside the appliance becomes stagnant and thus the power consumption increases.
Apart from locking the color, texture, flavor, and nutritional value of the preserved food quickly, a blast freezer inhibits microorganism growth and ensures 100% safe food. Protection from dehydration and physical appearance damage with an ‘ice skin’ on the surface formed due to rapid cooling is provided to the delicate preparations such as fruit extracts, soufflés, and pasta. Aside from the integrity, quality, and taste of the food, blast freezing also offers greatly reduced risk of contamination, provided that the food is handled safely and then put into the freezer immediately after preparation. All the above benefits of food preservation are the reason why blast freezing is very popular in commercial food preparation areas.