As you are following here, know how flash freezing works and why it is so necessary to do it? Here you shall also be guided through a step-by-step process.
It is indeed a tiring job to put big chunks of food in the freezer and then deal with the frozen lump. Later when you wish to thaw you certainly find that it consumes a lot of your time. Indeed, splitting a big portion of food is too much of a work. But guess what? This process can further be simplified. Try to do flash freezing.
The process of flash freezing is nothing but only a pre-treatment to freezing food for a longer time. But surely, it helps in a great way to the process of freezing food. This process actually works with many foods that include fruits, blanched vegetables, and portions of meat as well. Whenever you buy frozen vegetables or French fries as well, although they come in large bags but you are able to scoop them out in portion sizes. This is exactly what flash freezing does to your food as well.
Flash freezing actually makes the food easier to prepare. This process is an extra step that only takes a few minutes of yours to work. But the result at the end of it is really worth the effort that has been put in. When you flash freeze the frozen food, you are able to reduce its time to prepare by few minutes. Indeed, there cannot be a reason why you should not opt for flash freezing the food.
The process to flash freeze food
In order to flash freeze food, you can do the following:
- Before you flash freeze food, make sure that there is no unwrapped food in the freezer that has a strong smell. If such food is there then, separate the food in an airtight container. When you flash freeze any food you must always put it in the refrigerator without covering it with a wrapper. So, you must be careful while putting the food for flash freezing in the refrigerator. Any unpleasant odor or aromas shall alter the flavor of the food.
- Get hold of a cookie sheet. And ensure that there is enough space inside the refrigerator to lay it flat. This shall hold the food over it and shall not let it fall.
- Now as you put the food on the cookie sheet, spread it out in a single layer. Make sure that the pieces of the food do not stick to each other. The arrangement need not have to be perfect though. A little touch between the pieces at times is perfectly ok. You must ensure to separate the frozen pieces after freezing them.
- Now put the cookie sheet in the freezer. Let it stay there till the time the food freezes to become solid. This freezing time shall depend on the type and also the quantity of food that you have kept. Usually, it takes about an hour or two, to freeze the small pieces of food. But in the case of large pieces of food, it shall take their own time to freeze. Approximately from 4-8 hours, it shall take to freeze. Just allow the food enough time to get it frozen properly. You can leave the food overnight in the freezer. Or even you can also put the food in the freezer in the morning and bring it out by the afternoon.
- Take out the cookie sheet from the freezer and put the frozen food in the containers or the freezer bags. But make sure to not leave the foods unwrapped in the freezer. In doing so, it shall cause them freezer burns. This is the reason why we put the food into something appropriate. It shall help to support the long-term storage in the freezer.
Tips for flash freezing
Instead of using a cookie sheet, you can even use any flat surface that shall fit in the freezer. Cover the surface either with aluminum foil or plastic freezer wrap. It shall ensure that the food does not stick to the surface after they get frozen.
Foods that you can flash freeze
No matter if the food happens to be cooked or raw, any food or chopped down food can be flash frozen. The best types are the ones that generally freeze well and are usually useful in smaller portions.
- Fresh berries, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries freeze well.
- Meats such as chicken breast halves, steaks, and hotdogs.
- Cooked and uncooked hamburger patties, bacon slices, and meatballs.
- Shrimps, scallops, and fish steaks and fillets.
- Muffin, scones, and baked cookies.
- Rolls, biscuits, and baked bread slices.
- Unbaked bread dough that has been shaped into rolls.
- Shaped unbaked doughs of cookies.
- Fruit pie, individual slices of cake, and cheesecake.
Foods that you cannot flash freeze
The following foods you shall not be able to flash freeze because they lose their flavor, texture, and overall quality. These foods do not do well when flash frozen.
- Eggs in shells both when raw as well as cooked.
- Cooked egg whites and yolks.
- Cream-based pies and custards. Even the desserts having cream fillings.
- Fried and buttered foods.
- Chicken breasts and stuffed chops.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables, except berries.
- Stews, soups, and other soft liquid dishes.
The duration of freezing flash frozen foods
According to the USDA, foods that have been stored at a temperature that ranges between, zero degrees Fahrenheit or below than that, shall be safe to eat. The reason for so is because freezing stops the growth of microorganisms. It causes food-borne illnesses. But it must also be noted that with time food too loses its quality. Frozen food shall lose its texture, flavor, and its overall quality as well. So, it is always healthier if you stick to the time that has been put forward here.
In the case of cooked items
- Baked cookies, fruit pies, slices of cakes, yeast bread, and quick bread for up to three months.
- Individual pieces of cheesecakes for up to two weeks.
- Cooked meats such as chicken breasts, pork chops, and slices of meatloaf for up to three months.
In the case of raw items
- Berries for up to one year.
- Ground meat patties uncooked for up to three months.
- Uncooked shellfish and fish for up to three months.
- Uncooked chops, steaks, and pieces of poultry for up to three to six months maximum.
- Uncooked cookie dough and bread for up to three months.
You must remember to thaw the food in the microwave or the refrigerator when it is ready. But you must never do it at room temperature.
Indeed, through the process of flash freezing, the food quickly freezes to extremely cold temperatures. In the case of commercial processing, foods are flash-frozen so that their nutrients could be retained. This process also keeps the food fresh and flavorful for a longer period of time. There are even many home cooks who practice this method of flash freezing for vegetables and fruits. This is such a useful concept that it is been used in the field of scientific research as well. the use it for preserving the specimens, rapidly.
Do you know? The concept of flash freezing was first developed by Clarence Birdseye. He was looking for a way to have fresh vegetables in winter and to carry them without damage. It is then it struck him that preserving food well below the freezing point is a useful way. Using this idea, he started a massive company of frozen food. At the industrial level, this process is performed in large freezers. Foods are usually frozen no sooner than they are picked or prepared. And due to the temperature, they get frozen within a few hours only. After the foods are flash frozen, they can easily be moved to the conventional freezers. In these freezers,the temperatures is near the freezing point and so the food remains solid frozen.
Even the fishing boats use this technique of flash freezing. It keeps their catch fresh for days till the time they reach the port. In such cases, the fish are cleaned at first and then they are flash-frozen. This method proves to be useful for preserving fruits, vegetables, and crops as well. all you got to do is to reheat when required. If you do not have the appropriate equipment in your home, you can still make it work somehow. You can use trays to keep the food for flash freezing. Try to keep the freezer empty as much as possible. This shall allow air to flow over the food. And also, if you pack food with ice, it shall ensure to freeze your food properly as well. So, as you have learned by now, flash freezing is indeed a very important process for freezing food for a longer time.