Strategies for freezing and chilling food
Cooked foods prepared to be regenerated should be cooled as soon as possible to prevent the multiplication of bacteria and maintain their texture and juiciness. There are several techniques and tools to cool (blast chillers such as mychill, cameras or large capacity refrigerators ...) and freeze (ultra cool freezer, liquid nitrogen, water with ice and salt ...). Much of the speed of the process has to do with the heat conduction capacity of food.
Ideally, prepared foods that are not going to be consumed at the moment should be frozen as soon as possible. However, excessive intensity in this process can damage the qualities of the food. Traditional freezing in standard equipment is a simple and economical process, but it has the disadvantage that the food must be cooled beforehand so as not to interrupt the cold chain of nearby items.
A freezer is a good choice when long-term storage is to be carried out, although chilling should always take place prior to freezing. Therefore, these freezers should be of great power, ensuring that in 270 minutes they reach -18 ºC in the heart of the food. For most of these equipments it is impossible and if they succeed, they require a great consumption of energy due to their great dimensions of the chamber.
On the other hand, blast chillers offer a high speed and high capacity, as well as being part of a more economical process, since they have a camera of reduced dimensions that adjusts more to the amount of production to be abated. Likewise, these are designed to comply with safety regulations, reaching 3 °C at the heart of the food in 90 minutes and -18 ° C in 270 minutes.
Ways to effectively cool food range from a bowl of ice water to sophisticated state-of-the-art tools such as a blast chiller. For the effectiveness of many of the methods used, the heat conductivity of the food itself is of almost decisive importance.
The blast chillers are able to reduce the internal temperature of the food in a short time without the quality of the food being affected. This is the most economical method, as a large quantity of food can be chased at the same time. A large capacity refrigerator chamber has the advantage of simplicity of handling and the great variety of sizes, but is not effective for cooling, as these are designed to maintain the temperature of food, not to lower it and the temperature and the energy cost will be enormous. In addition, this causes the temperature of the surrounding food to rise, causing it to be damaged.
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