In recent years, more restaurant kitchens have added a blast chiller to their line, because of the culinary possibilities and food safety enhancements this device offers. So, what is blast chiller equipment, and how does it work? Essentially, the chiller “blasts” a food item with lightning-fast and extremely cold air. It’s a handy solution for chilling various food items, and you can use it for beverages as well. In this guide, we’ve shared how a blast chiller works, as well as a few popular applications for today’s restaurant kitchens.
How Does a Blast Chiller Work?
Blast chillers chill food faster than other methods, and the rapid air-cooling process creates smaller ice crystals than a normal freezer. First, you place a tray with food or drinks inside the blast chiller. Once you start the process, the blast chiller fan turns on and cools the product with cold air. This approach also minimizes the product loss that occurs during evaporation, and the smaller ice crystals do less damage to the food when it thaws. All in all, the blast chiller process results in tastier, more tender, and more nutritious food compared to traditional refrigeration or freezing.
What About Food Safety?
The “danger zone” for bacteria is the 41°F to 135°F range, and if food stays in this range for too long, it can become contaminated. After four hours within this "danger zone", food should be thrown out. According to the FDA’s safety code, kitchens need to cool down food out of the "critical danger zone" from 135°F to 70°F in two hours or less. Food then needs to be cooled from 70°F to 41°F within four hours, for a total of six hours for cooling.
To avoid creating bacteria, you can use a blast chiller to cool a product fast and move through the "critcal danger zone" and "danger zone" quickly. In fact, cooling food with a QuickChiller reduces time food is in the danger zone by 80%. With a traditional cooler, it’s not guaranteed that cooked food will cool down within the FDA’s time frame, causing a potential food safety issue for you and your customers.
How Does a Blast Chiller Preserve Nutritional Health?
Finally, a blast chiller retains more nutrients than other freezing methods. When you freeze food using normal, more harsh means, the nutrients start to deteriorate and the product loses its flavor. Frozen food is extremely useful for ready-cooked meals, but the quality can be lost if you’re not using a blast chiller.
Learn more about our QuickChiller™ line of blast chillers and how they can benefit your foodservice operation. Once you taste the quality and texture of blast-chilled and then rethermed food, you’ll be convinced.