A blast freezer, also called a flash freezer or shock freezer, is used to rapidly cool and freeze foods and other substances. Blast freezers are specialized in nature, and are capable of holding items at extremely cold temperatures. Because of this, they are widely prevalent in the food industry, freezing everything from sorbets and ice creams to frozen lasagna and chicken. Flash freezers are also found in commercial kitchens, where smaller versions are chiefly used for specialty cooking applications. Flash freezers are widely available from freezer manufacturing companies. Many manufacturers offer custom-built shock freezers which can be modified to fit customer needs based on specific applications.
Most flash freezers utilize blowers which forcefully circulate super-cooled air throughout the freezer. This extra circulation allows more contact with the food, bringing it rapidly below freezing temperature. Some operate a little differently, depending on the design of the freezer or the application it is meant to perform. For example, some freezers might feature adjustable trays which allow you to position and reposition foods according to your needs, and to ensure even cooling and freezing.
Some flash freezers contain multiple freezing compartments, so that different types of foods and materials can be quickly frozen without risking cross-contamination. These types of freezers are fully capable of freezing foods at any temperature – cold, hot, or anywhere in-between. Overcrowding however, especially of warmer foods, will cause a drop in performance as the freezer attempts to correct for temperature differences.
During the process of freezing food, any water molecules present within the food crystallizes. Freezing food at normal temperatures allows the cooling process to take several hours, which causes larger crystals to form. The crystals literally puncture the cells of the food, rupturing them. This causes damage to the food that you can see and taste in the final product. By blast freezing the food in a flash freezer, smaller crystals form. Few of those crystals have a chance to get very large, resulting in a creamier, smoother-textured ice cream, and ultimately, a fresher tasting food item.
Once an item has been flash frozen, it can be safely moved to a more traditional freezer for long term storage. As long as it is kept frozen, blast-frozen items can be safely stored for far longer periods of time than foods frozen with more conventional methods, making it an economical choice for many commercial food service and product providers.
The extremely cold temperatures produced by a shock freezer inhibit the growth of bacteria. Proper safety precautions, along with prompt handling during the food preparation and freezing process should diminish food spoilage as well as any contamination risk. This makes blast freezers a popular choice in industrial and commercial food service organizations. It is most commonly used in food preparation, thus reducing the overall risk to consumers.
These freezers do use a lot of energy, which can make them a bit of a pricey investment for the everyday household. However, the range of sizes and features available ensures that there is something out there for everyone who wants them. Busy cooks who prepare casseroles and other meals in advance and in large numbers will appreciate the convenience of a blast freezer as much as the fisherman and hunter with large amounts of game and seafood to store. To learn more about the commercial and residential applications of blast freezers and other cold storage solutions, contact us today at (909) 335-0148.