How often do we waste food that we don’t use because it expires or turns before we have had the chance? By choosing to flash freeze individual or small portions of food you can be set up with ready-to-go meals in quantities suitable for any lifestyle. This technique saves both time and money on fresh fruits and produce you buy every day.
The technique easily allows you to preserve berries, cookies, dinner rolls, and so much more. Once you’re done, the perfect meal, snack or dessert is merely minutes away in whatever quantity you desire. This quick-chill method makes lunches on-the-go a breeze. This article highlights what flash freezing is, its importance, and how to flash freeze.
What Is Flash Freezing?
In the food industry, flash freezing, or blast freezing, is the method of freezing foods at low temperatures using cold circulating air. This method ensures that the ice crystals that form remain small, allowing moisture to remain in the food while it thaws. Flash freezing entails freezing your food individually or in small pieces on a sheet pan or baking pan before it is packaged.
This method allows you to thaw and reheat individual servings without the hassle of reheating an entire container of food. The United States Department of Agriculture states that foods stored at temperatures of 0?F will always be safe to eat. Freezing halts the aging process and prevents microorganisms that cause food-borne illness to develop.
What Can Be Frozen
Unfortunately, all foods aren’t candidates for flash freezing because over time, they may lose flavor, texture, and/ or quality.
The best candidates for flash freezing are:
- Fresh berries
- Individual pieces of meats
- Baked cookies and bread slices
- Unbaked rolls of dough
- Slices of cake
What Can Not Be Frozen
Foods that should not be flash frozen are:
- Eggs and cheeses
- Cream-based pies
- Battered and fried foods
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
Recommended Cooked Foods
We recommend that you flash freeze the following cooked foods:
- Mini egg-based breakfast quiches
- Baked oatmeal cups
- Veggie burgers
- Granola bars
- Pizza slices, pizza muffins
- Diced chicken or turkey
- Blanched (quick cooked) vegetables like broccoli, green beans, & carrots.
- Bacon slices
We recommend that you flash freeze the following uncooked foods:
- Pot pies
- Fruit Pies
- Garlic bread
- Ready to bake cookie dough balls
- Shredded cheese
- Fresh berries
- Dinner rolls/biscuits
- Diced onion or bell peppers for cooking
- Sliced bananas for smoothies & baking
- Breaded chicken tenders
- Fresh herbs
- Double stuffed potato & sweet potatoes
- Hamburger or turkey burger patties
Is There a Need for Flash Freezing?
Flash freezing is a great way to extend the shelf life of ingredients. Freezing foods can better allow for you to plan out your meals for the month, saving you time and constant trips to the supermarket. Flash freezing your leftovers is a genius way to save your meals or reincorporate it into later dishes. This simple technique makes storing, thawing, and heating your freezer easier and hassle-free, significantly reducing your prep and cook times.
Washing and dividing food into individual portion or pieces makes for easy storage and perfect quantities. Flash freezing at home is a safe, less expensive alternative to buying frozen foods because you know what ingredients were used. Forget about consuming dyes and preservatives!
The History of Flash Freezing
Flash freezing has gained traction in recent years due to its ease and benefits. The process uses objects that you already have in your kitchen. It increases the shelf life of nearly every food group. Not to mention that the steps are straightforward enough for anyone in the kitchen, regardless of skill level. This method allows you to have the right amount of food available when you need it.
Flash freezing has a number of benefits. Flash frozen foods are more resistant to freezer burn and have a much longer shelf life. This method of freezing also allows foods to maintain their original flavor, texture, and moisture. Packaging foods at their peak allow for ripeness and nutrient-packed consumption at a much later date.
After you have acquainted yourself with how to flash freeze foods like pancakes, hamburger patties, twice-baked potatoes, or waffles, you will have a great way to prep and store single servings. You will be able to easily grab individual portions for a quick meal on-the-go.
How to Flash Freeze
Flash freezing is the process of freezing your food individually or in small pieces on a sheet pan or baking pan before it is packaged. This simple technique makes storing, thawing, and heating your freezer easier and hassle-free, significantly reducing your prep and cook times. Once, the technique is mastered, you can apply it to a variety of foods for individual portions or meals within minutes. Before flash freezing, you need to prepare the food, and then seal/wrap, label, and then freeze.
Prepare the Food for Flash Freezing:
Most foods do not need to be washed, except for fresh berries. You should stem the berries, then gently rinse them and pat them dry.
Then divide food into individual portions or pieces. Examples include shaped individual dinner rolls, individual chicken breasts, meatballs, chicken breast slices, and single servings of cooked meatloaf.
Next, line a baking sheet or tray with parchment or wax paper. Ensure that the edges of the food do not touch because it causes the food pieces to fuse as they freeze. Parchment paper, plastic wrap, or waxed paper should be lined up with the tray or baking sheet to facilitate easier cleanup.
Seal or Wrap, Label, and Freeze
You should then remove the food from the baking sheet and wrap it. You can use heavy-duty aluminum foil or transfer it to resealable freezer bags or freezer-safe food storage containers that have tight-fitting lids.
Do not use aluminum foil to wrap foods that contain acidic ingredients, such as lemon juice or tomatoes. This is because acid reacts with the foil, which gives off a bad flavor. You should instead use a plastic freezer wrap.
After the food has hardened, remove it from the baking sheet and transfer it to a resealable freezer bag or air-tight food storage container. Make sure to label your package with a wax crayon or waterproof marker, noting the name, quantity and date your food was frozen. Return the food to the freezer until needed.
How Long to Freeze Flash-Frozen Food
While the blast method works on many items, they all cannot be stored for the same amount of time. Cooked items, such as slices of cake and bread, can be stored for up to three months. Cooked meats can also be stored for up to three months. Raw items such as berries can be stored the longest, up to one year after initially frozen. Uncooked meat patties and steaks can be frozen and stored anywhere from three to six months. Unbaked bread and cookie dough can be frozen and stored for up to three months.
For cooked items, freeze them in the following ways:
- Baked cookies, slices of cake, fruit pies, quick bread, and yeast bread: 3 months
- Individual slices of cheesecake: 2 weeks
- Cooked meats, such as pork chops, chicken breasts, and meatloaf slices: 3 months
If you have uncooked items, freeze them for these amounts of time:
- Uncooked fish and shellfish: 3 months
- Uncooked ground meat patties: 3 months
- Unbaked cookie and bread dough: 3 months
- Uncooked chops, steaks, and poultry pieces: 3-6 months
- Berries: 1 year
Thawing Flash-Frozen Foods
Thawing flash-frozen foods is easier than it sounds. Never thaw your food at room temperature. This allows bacteria to multiply at a rapid pace. You can thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in a microwave oven. Meats and vegetables can be cooked from the frozen or thawed stage. Cooked foods do not have to be thawed before reheating.
Flash freeze individual or small portions of food and you can make to-go meals in a quick and timely manner. This technique saves both time and money on the fresh fruit and produce you buy every day. The technique easily allows you to preserve berries, cookies, dinner rolls and so much more. Afterward, the perfect meal, snack, or dessert is only minutes away in whatever quantity you desire.
This method ensures that the ice crystals that form on your foods will remain small, allowing the moisture to remain in the food while it thaws. Freezing halts the aging process and prevents microorganisms that cause food-borne illness to develop. Unfortunately, not all foods are candidates for flash freezing because over time, they may lose flavor, texture, and/ or quality. You should always check whether your food is safe for the flash freeze method.
Remember not to use aluminum foil to wrap foods that are high in acidity, such as tomatoes and lemon juices. These foods react badly with aluminum, causing them to change in both color and flavor. Never thaw food at room temperature. Frozen foods can be thawed in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in a microwave oven.