3 Benefits of Blast Freezing Technology

Blast freezers have now become a staple tool for the food industry. As you can probably deduce from the name, a blast freezer is more than just a freezer and is designed to quickly chill products. This serves a few purposes:

  • It drastically reduces the possibility of bacterial growth and contamination.

  • It extends the shelf life of food products.

  • It preserves the products’ textures and flavors.

As a result, the blast freezing technology has managed to increase productivity within commercial businesses, especially the frozen food industry. If you ship large quantities of perishable or frozen foods such as meat, seafood, fresh produce, dairy, and ice cream, using blast freezers is a salient idea.

What Are Blast Freezers?

The cold air temperature inside the freezers creates tiny ice crystals on the foods stored inside them. Unlike larger ice crystals that form during slow cooling (in a normal freezer), these smaller ones are much more delicate and are less likely to alter the food’s taste and/or damage its appearance. Once the food has been blast frozen, it can be moved to a normal freezer for extended storage – as long as it stays cold enough to preserve the frozen items.

When foods are frozen through slower means of freezing, they almost always end up dry when defrosted. The formation of larger ice crystals damages the cell walls, compromising the quality of the food.

Blast freezers, on the other hand, force cold air to very rapidly bring down the temperature of foods, freezing them in their natural state extremely quickly. The blast chilling doesn’t allow the formation of large crystals. This is why they are widely used in the food industry for things like meats, fish, vegetables, prepared meals, and more. Even smaller, local organizations are beginning to embrace blast freezers  as the demand for freshly frozen foods continues to rise.

How Does a Blast Freezer Work?

Blast freezing is the process of pushing very cold air over a food product in order to freeze it at lightning speed – and this is no exaggeration.

As for the science behind it: the purpose of blast freezing is to freeze food so fast that the water molecules inside don’t have an opportunity to damage the food molecules.

When water freezes at or just below 32° Fahrenheit, it gets frozen in a lattice pattern. The pattern then transforms into pure ice crystals inside the food cells. The lattice structure effectively forces everything else out from inside of the individual food cells. In addition, it concentrates the amount of cell-damaging electrolytes and enzymes, which can lead to deterioration of the food.

The slower the freezing process, the more time the water has to form this damaging lattice pattern. However, if the food is frozen rapidly (via blast freezing), the water freezes before it can arrange itself into this lattice structure. As a result, the ice crystals that form are really small, so there’s more space for enzymes and electrolytes within the cell. This eliminates the risk of said cells from coming into contact with and then bursting the cell walls and membranes.

When you eventually thaw blast-frozen food, there are fewer damaged cells inside the product. And in meat and seafood, this can also mean solid flesh that closely resembles its state back when it was fresh.

Benefits of Blast Freezers

When you freeze something (be it food or anything else), the water inside the item crystallizes into ice. The longer the freezing procedure takes, the bigger the ice crystals. These larger ice crystals spoil materials by causing events such as “cell bursting”, which adversely affects the flavor and quality of foods.

Exceptionally rapid freezing within a blast chiller leads to the formation of minuscule ice crystals, which does less damage and maintains the food’s quality. And the best part is, once the food has been “blast frozen”, you can move it into a regular freezer for long-term storage.

The biggest advantage of blast freezers is that you can freeze enormous quantities of food products in a much shorter period. Companies involved in the preservation, processing, and manufacturing of meats, shellfish, seafood, and processed foods are using the blast freezing process on a regular basis.

If you’re considering using blast freezers, the following benefits might help you seal the deal:

Little to No Risk of Bacterial Growth

Meat, poultry, and fish can all harbor significant amounts of bacteria, such as Salmonella and Escherichia Coli (E. Coli) in their fresh, raw form. These dangerous bacteria multiply at an alarming rate over just a few days if left in unsuitable conditions. The good news is that they can be controlled and destroyed if the correct cooking and freezing methods are used.

Blast freezers have the ability to freeze multiple tons of produce in a short few hours. This super fast freezing process guarantees that bacteria have no time to develop, keeping the food fresh in bulk. As the foods are blasted with cold air between 14° Fahrenheit and -184° Fahrenheit, the temperature makes it impossible for bacteria to develop. This ensures that your product is safe to consume for your customers once it is in their hands.

Preservation of Nutrients

Another amazing benefit of blast freezing is that it helps to preserve the delicate nutrients in food. As soon as foods are sourced – meat is cut and vegetables are harvested – the process of nutrient deterioration begins. Blast freezing effectively stops the decline in nutrients in its tracks. Compared to this, the traditional, slower freezing is not as effective and allows for unwanted changes in the foods, resulting in bland-tasting, not-as-healthy food.

Nutritional health is especially important if stored food is intended for hospitals and schools. Children and people considered vulnerable must be able to consume nutrient-dense foods for optimal health, which is why the nutrient-preserving properties of a blast freezer are so incredible.

Freezing food in this way is also useful in the case of already-cooked meals because the nutrients don’t get lost over time. As demand for healthier frozen foods is increasing globally, this is an important thing to consider for prepared meal manufacturers.

Cost Savings

If you are in the hospitality industry, you’re forever trying to streamline production via tight budgeting and continuous improvement. When you think about the considerable return on investment, using blast freezing technology makes sense.

We have already covered how blast freezing can save you money by extending the shelf life of your products. It can also help you buy quality ingredients in-season for cheap and store them for later.

Case in point: all the hot dog buns and burger buns people consume for the 4th of July are baked and stored several months in advance using blast freezing technology! How else do you think manufacturers are able to meet the demand for roughly 375 million burgers on this single day? Quality products – like those buns – that were blast frozen have proven to be no different than fresh products available during peak season.

Blast freezers also enable staff to work more efficiently when it comes to the production side of things. They don’t have to constantly monitor the freezing process, which means the company gets the flexibility to adjust staffing levels to control overhead costs and meet demand.

Other Applications for Blast Freezers

The food industry is not the only one reaping the benefits of blast freezing. Pharmaceuticals, transportation, bakers, caterers, butchers, and other distributors are using blast chilling to keep their products in excellent condition. The versatility of this technology can be used across several industries and for all types of temperature-sensitive goods.

  • Pharmaceutical Industry: For pharmaceutical manufacturers, blast freezers are used to quickly cool a wide variety of materials such as vaccines. Thanks to compatibility with shipping containers and temperature monitoring features, the pharma industry often uses blast freezers to store and transport vital materials.

  • Transportation: Food distributors blast freeze food to move it to other locations. Delicate Items: Some items like baked confectioneries and pasta benefit from the formation of a thin layer of ice on the surface. This layer prevents dehydration and helps the foods maintain their original texture.

  • Foods: Many cafeterias, restaurants, diners, ice cream shops, and stores use blast freezers to cool their food products before putting them in more accessible long-term freezers. This freezes the foods before any bacteria can grow and keeps them fresher than in a regular freezer.

If you are looking to expand the amount of inventory you hold quickly and without hassle, partnering with a blast-freezing company might be a no-brainer for your organization. With a no-fuss setup and no planning permission required, you can start blast freezing your stock within days, ensuring an abundant supply of inventory, and offering your customers a more extensive product selection.

You can use blast freezers to preserve produce for transport to other areas, or as a strategic storage solution. They are available in different sizes to cater to the needs of different businesses, and they also offer the perk of portability.

Are Blast Freezers Better than Normal Freezers?

In most cases, normal freezers are not efficient enough to conserve the quality of food that is necessary for the food production industries. When a slowly-frozen product is thawed, the damaged cells inside melt into the rest of the food and drain out. This is what makes them mushy and wilted.

If you work in the food industry, there is not even a question: blast freezers are better and far superior to regular freezers in every single way: taste, freshness, and quality.

To get an edge on your competitors, you can’t overlook the serious capabilities of blast freezing technology. When it comes to processing, manufacturing, and preservation of food products, blast freezers can give your organization the push it needs to stand out from competitors that are relying on outdated, subpar technologies.

Reliable Cold Storage Solutions for Food Preservation

At Vertical Cold Storage, we offer sophisticated blast freezing and warehousing solutions to keep your inventory safe. We are certified to store food products and edible ingredients and package them properly for businesses like yours.

Our facilities are equipped with an impressive range of blast freezers to suit diverse requirements. If you’re looking for features like real-time inventory tracking, automated warehousing systems, and strict quality control, our experienced team has got you covered.

What we can do for you:

  • Provide a custom solution for your operations, making sure that your needs are met to your precise specifications.

  • Blast freezing to preserve your food products’ quality, integrity, and safety based on the strict USDA and FDA guidelines.

  • Abide by all the critical regulatory requirements to extend the lifespan of your products, and lock in essential nutrients and flavor.

If you have any questions or concerns, please call us at (630) 866-2700 or leave us a message here. Vertical Cold Storage can help you find the blast-freezing solution to make your business a success!