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Instant freeze machine - what is it?


Starkman
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Hello all,

Say, I was reading somewhere on this board, and someone mentioned some sort of contraption that can freeze things (like food) instantly, using a gas of some sort, I'm sure. I don't remember the details, so I'm not even sure how to search this board for it.

Does anyone have one of these machines? Are they for professional use only?

Thanks,

Starkman

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Are you thinking of a blast chiller? It's a refrigeration unit with high-speed fans to cool the food more rapidly than a regular fridge. They're mostly used in professional kitchens since they're quite expensive - thousands of dollars for even a small under-counter unit.

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Are you thinking of a blast chiller? It's a refrigeration unit with high-speed fans to cool the food more rapidly than a regular fridge.  They're mostly used in professional kitchens since they're quite expensive - thousands of dollars for even a small under-counter unit.

No. What I'm thinking of is the equivalent of what a microwave does, but in reverse!

Starkman

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Unfortunately there is no device that can freeze things instantly. This would be absolutely amazing for analyzing biological samples in a microscope without having ice crystals destroy them. The faster you freeze something the less time ice crystals have to grow and ruin stuff. Currently the two fastest ways to freeze something, albeit very tiny things (0.1mm thick) is by very quickly dunking it in liquid ethane (fast freezing than liquid nitrogen) or freezing it at a higher pressure to prevent the formation of ice crystals which destroy tissue.

These are not suitable for foods and it isn't possible to completely prevent ice crystal formation. As of yet there is no magic anti-microwave device. It would have to operate on a fundamentally different principle due to the nature of heat and the universe.

From the food/cooking sides of things there is liquid nitrogen, a blast chiller and the anti-griddle. Liquid nitrogen is very cold (-190C) and puting your food in it freezes food quickly, although not instantly. The blast chillar is like a normal freezer but it moves the air around to take heat out of the food faster. This is called forced convection and it works the same way as why you feel colder when its windy outside. The anti-griddle is just a cold surface on which to place food - the surface conducts heat away faster than the still air in a freezer.

Edited by s0rce (log)

Professional Scientist (in training)

Amateur Cook

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The blast chillar is like a normal freezer but it moves the air around to take heat out of the food faster. This is called forced convection and it works the same way as why you feel colder when its windy outside.

I thought blast chillers operated at a significantly lower temperature than reach-in freezers.

Would adding fans to the inside of a reach-in cause things to freeze faster, assuming they could move enough air?

I think I have some experiments to perform with my ice cream holding freezer. :)

-jon-

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Would adding fans to the inside of a reach-in cause things to freeze faster, assuming they could move enough air?

Think of it like this: when you put something warmer than the freezer's air temperature into the freezer, the air surrounding your item warms up while the item cools down. If you put in a fan, you will take this warmer air and move it around, replacing it with the (presumably) colder air elsewhere in the freezer.

The trick is, running a motor adds heat (through a couple of mechanisms), so just putting a fan into a regular freezer may or may not help: it will depend on a lot of factors.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I have seen the "anti Griddle" on various websites but have not used it. From descriptions, it is used for a'la carte sauces, novelty stuff, etc.

A blast freezer is designed to bring down temperature rapidly. I have used many such freezers, from shoving in a deep hotel pan of stew sizes to walk-in types where a rotating oven rack, fully loaded with baked goods, taken literally seconds from the oven, and the items are frozen solid within 15 minutes.

Shove in a hot hotel pan of something into a normal fridge or freezer and you will have some extreme humidty. The steam condenses and sticks on to the evaporator coil where it ices up, the temperature gets warmer, and the auto-shut off switch on the compressor kicks in. This happens frequently with eejits in a commercial kitchen, who wheel in 60 qts of piping hot chicken stock and wonder why the Chef calls them at home--just hours after they did the deed, demanding them to commit ritual sucicide, or at the very least--to get back into work on their own time, and hose down the coil with warm water (commonly refered to as an "enema") to remove the ice from the coil, and save the rest of the inventory in the fridge from spoiling.

I don't know the exact mechanics of a blast freezer, but they are far more expensive than a regular freezer and shoud NOT be used as a regular freezer--used to maintain freezing temperatures. I do know that they have some very powerfull fans, as it is air current that is most effective in cooling down an item.

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Well, being able to freeze something in 15 minutes would be great. Even just to cool something off that fast would be great as well. But... I can imagine that the cost for these kinds of contraptions is...and what with the dollar dropping...guess I'll stick with the fridge!

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An ice water bath provides a great low-tech solution to cooling things quickly. It's especially good for cooling of posts of stock, etc. Give the stock a stir every few minutes and it will be cool very quickly (if you have enough ice water).

You can also make your very own "ice wand" to cool down liquids, combine this with an ice bath, and you can cool down liquids/semi liquids within 15 mins.

Now, you can buy ice wands at restaurant supply places. but if you're cheap (like me) save your milk jugs, wash them out, peel off the stickers, fill with water, place a piece of cling film over the top and screw on the cap firmly. Freeze. Drop into your liquid and stir the liquid every few minutes.

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An ice water bath provides a great low-tech solution to cooling things quickly. It's especially good for cooling of posts of stock, etc. Give the stock a stir every few minutes and it will be cool very quickly (if you have enough ice water).

You can also make your very own "ice wand" to cool down liquids, combine this with an ice bath, and you can cool down liquids/semi liquids within 15 mins.

Now, you can buy ice wands at restaurant supply places. but if you're cheap (like me) save your milk jugs, wash them out, peel off the stickers, fill with water, place a piece of cling film over the top and screw on the cap firmly. Freeze. Drop into your liquid and stir the liquid every few minutes.

absolutely...in the time it takes to make stock you can freeze up soda or milk bottles to cool it off later...I use 20oz soda bottles

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