To ensure the quality, safety and proper preservation of food, blast chilling has become a fundamental practice, not only in high-end catering. But what exactly does ‘blast chilling’ mean and what advantages does it offer?
What is blast chilling
Blast chilling is a rapid cooling method that drastically reduces the temperature of food to a safe storage temperature. This process, which involves the use of special equipment called blast chillers, allows temperatures below -18°C to be reached quickly at the core of the product.
This process minimises microbial growth and blocks the action of enzymes that can cause food spoilage and spoilage.
If the temperature of a product is lowered rapidly, bacteria do not have the time or the way to develop. Conversely, if it is left to cool in a different way, a bacterial load develops that doubles approximately every 15 minutes.
The blast chilling process and applications
The blast chiller uses a jet of forced air at -40°C to rapidly lower the temperature from 90°C to 3°C (positive blast chilling) or to freeze food down to -18°C (negative blast chilling).
The choice between one or the other mode depends on several factors, first and foremost the objective of blast chilling and the type of food.
The applications of blast chilling are manifold. In the catering and food industry sectors, the use of blast chillers enables high-quality food to be prepared and stored for a long time, while maintaining the organoleptic properties of the food.
In the field of frozen food distribution, it also plays a key role in ensuring the safety and freshness of products.
Slaughtering, on the other hand, is very important in the case of fresh fish, which is regulated by EC Regulation 842 of 2004 (we also talked about it in this article).
The advantages of blast chilling
The wholesomeness of food, through the reduction of microbes and bacteria, is only one of the many advantages that blast chilling can provide.
First of all, it allows the freshness and quality of food to remain intact, preserving its flavour, texture and nutritional values. It also extends the shelf life of food, allowing better stock management and reducing waste.
For this to happen, it is important to select a blast chiller that suits your needs, to follow food handling procedures correctly and to constantly monitor storage temperatures.
Some frequently asked questions
Blast chilling helps to ensure food safety by reducing bacterial growth, preventing premature spoilage of food and preserving the organoleptic characteristics of food.
Traditional freezing (as in the home freezer) occurs very slowly and, in addition to taking longer, causes the formation of large ice crystals that break down the fibres of the product. Blast chilling, on the other hand, takes place quickly, preserving food quality and avoiding loss of liquids and nutrients during thawing.
Yes, they can be used for a wide range of foods, including meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, bakery products and ready meals. They are also indispensable for ice cream and pastry products.
Rapid blast chilling allows food to be kept longer without compromising its quality, enabling producers and restaurateurs to better manage stocks of fresh produce and semi-finished products. It allows a large quantity of product to be prepared at the same time, reducing the repetition of the same processes and thus labour hours.