With the population rising and food demand growing with every year, the demand for fresh produce is becoming more pressing in day to day life. Frozen storage and blast freezing are ways that the food industry keeps up with that demand. But what exactly is Blast Freezing, what are the benefits of it and why do we at The Ice Co Storage & Logistics offer this service to our customers?
So, what is Blast Freezing?
Blast Freezing is a term used to describe the method of cooling and / or freezing food to a very low temperature in a short space of time before going into a cold store. In doing this it stops harmful bacteria such as E-Coli and Salmonella from having the opportunity to grow and multiply.
When you freeze food, the water inside crystallises into ice. The longer the freezing process takes, the larger the ice crystals in the food. The larger the ice crystals in food, the more damage it does by causing issues such as cell bursting. When this happens, it effects the quality and flavour of the food.
Blast freezing causes the crystals formed to be very small, which does less damage and preserves food at a higher quality.
Where can you Blast Freeze products?
The Ice Co Storage & Logistics have dedicated Blast Freezing facilities in South Kirkby or Preston. At these sites, we have the ability to freeze up to 200 pallets per day.
What typical food products are Blast Frozen?
The most frequent product that we blast freeze at The Ice Co Storage & Logistics is meat that has arrived fresh from our customers. Other products include fresh fruit, fresh vegetable, bread and cake products.
How long does it take to Blast Freeze products?
Depending on the density of the product, food products are frozen down over a period of 12 to 36 hours reaching temperatures as low as -30°C in the process, halting the growth of the bacteria but also keeping the product at the highest of quality possible. Products such as meats require a longer freezing time to ensure that it has been frozen correctly and safely.
Do we Blast Freeze all products at The Ice Co Storage & Logistics?
We only blast freeze products if required, quite often the product arrives with us already frozen so it can go straight into our cold stores. Likewise, with the products we do blast freeze once the food is blast frozen it can be moved into one of our freezer chambers for longer term storage.
This is a great service to offer to our customers, as not all customers have the ability to freeze the food before it arrives with us.
How do we do it?
To maintain a constant temperature in a Blast Freezer, you need specialist equipment. Two out of our three sites have specialist blast freezing units which have all been fitted with a compressor to cool the temperature through air. But how does it work?
The compressor creates high temperature gas which is pushed through pipework into a condenser. The condenser then cools the gas which turns it into a liquid. The cooled liquid passes through an expansion valve which causes the pressure to drop and turns the liquid to an extremely cold temperature.
The cold liquid is then pushed through an evaporator coil where warm air from the product chamber is cooled down and creates a gas for the compressor, to compress again.
The cold air that is created from the evaporator coil is around -30°C now and with the fans running in the blast freezing units it is now pushed around the chamber and through the product.
Do you need to prepare products for Blast Freezing?
Before going into the blast unit, some products need to be re-stacked and rebuilt to add a layer separator. These layer separators ensure that when the air is being circulated around the product it is reaching the centre of the pallet, not just those on the outer of the pallet, therefore creating a solid freeze throughout.
Why use The Ice Co Storage & Logistics for Blast Freezing?
The Ice Co Storage & Logistics have the capability to blast freeze up to 200 pallets across our Preston and South Kirkby depots. All food manufacturers know that if blast freezing is required prior to use, then it must be done in a timely and temperature-controlled manner which is adequately monitored, documented and verified. All our blast freezing processes are approved by the British Retail Consortium to AA standard as is our tempering facility at Newcastle. We have a dedicated team of personnel whom operate them, as we understand the importance and value of your products.
Do you have more questions or enquiries about blast freezing? Great! Get in touch today by contacting:
South Kirkby: (Head Office)
Units 18/20 Langthwaite Grange Business Park
Telephone: 01977 655800
270 Carnfield Place
Telephone: 01772 314888