Over history, there have been many processes of keeping food the best it can be, without contaminating or spoiling it. Refrigeration has brought a whole new level of keeping cooked food edible for longer and modern methods are even better! One concept which we will be looking at in this blog is the method of blast chilling.
What is blast chilling?
In the most basic form, blast chilling is simply cooling cooked foods rapidly. Imagine you are standing out in a blizzard, with the snow and freezing wind blasting into your face. You would chill down very quickly and this is the basis of what happens to food, albeit not in a snow blizzard!
What benefits does blast chilling have?
Because of the quickness of cooling food with a blast chiller, the benefits are worth considering the investment. The food is cooled much quicker, meaning it can keep the quality and this includes fresh foods as well. You do not have to worry about contamination from bacteria and in all using a blast chiller can save you time, which also saves you money. Add to this the benefits of being able to chill bulk quantities foods and you can see that blast chilling has a firm place in refrigeration.
Is there legislation about food that is cooled for human consumption?
There certainly is! In fact, there is legislation set down by the Government Food Standards Agency and along with a body called the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, it is stated in the law that food must be called and refrigerated ‘as quickly as possible after cooking’.
How quick to blast chillers work?
That is where blast chillers can really help in keeping to these government guidelines, in fact, they can surpass them. Some produce can be chilled from about 70° C to around 3° C in around 1 ½ hours, which is well within the guidelines. Amazingly tons of food can be cooled by large last chillers in less than 36 hours.
So, what are the units?
Basically, the units are very large refrigeration installations (and some are not quite so large). All refrigerators are essentially insulated units that are cooled with an electric compressor which helps move liquid around special cooling bars keeping the temperature inside the unit low. Every time the unit is accessed, warm air can enter so the compressors kick in and lower the temperature again rapidly.
Blast chillers do this but use much more powerful compressors. These compressors rapidly lower the temperature inside the unit, much quicker than a conventional refrigeration installation. They also have incredibly powerful fans which blast around the entire unit, which along with internal fans, ensures that ice-cold air reaches every nook and cranny of the unit. It is by using these fans and compressors that the unit can cool food so rapidly.
Are they better than normal food cooling processes?
They certainly have a very firm place in the refrigeration process, and they are very quick. Normal food processes for cooling are good as well, and it is really up to the client and what process suits them the best and of course the types of foods that they deal with. The bottom line is the process of using a blast chiller ensures the food texture, taste and appearance remain constant. It also means that bacteria and viruses that can harm human health have a minimal chance of developing.
Have EJM installed these units before?
Yes, we have, along with many, many other refrigeration units, the company has installed blast chillers in many areas to ensure the freshness and hygienic level of food that is expected in the UK. Don’t forget we have been in business for many decades!
How do we go about getting one installed?
The very first thing to do is to speak to us about your installation requirements. We would never try to install the unit where we feel another process may be more appropriate. We will be extremely happy to chat with you about your commercial requirement and how a blast chiller could improve your processes.
If we feel the installation of a blast chiller is the best solution, we will talk to you about its location and have our design team look at different scenarios for its installation. All of this, of course, needs to take into account health and safety legislation which we always abide with.
As you can see from the article above, blast chilling is a very quick and easy way of cooling foods safely and easily. At EJM it is one of the many refrigeration processes and installations that we undertake for clients every year. If you think your business would benefit from having a blast chilling unit installed, please get in touch with us for a chat and further information.