To cook great food, chefs use two elements: heat and time. To get the best results, quite often heat is used in moderate quantity and at a slow pace. In the oven and on the stove, slowness can be a virtue. This isn't always the case, though.
When food is cooked to be stored for later use, the scenario changes completely. Foods that stay in the Danger Zone too long become, well, dangerous. When the temperature of food stays between 40ºF and 140ºF, the number of bacteria can double in just 20 minutes. To preserve safety and taste, foods need to be brought down to temperature quickly.
Putting hot food in a standard refrigerator or freezer will do more harm than good, though. Food won't chill fast enough causing internal temperatures to fluctuate, ultimately reducing shelf life. The best tools for the job are blast chillers and shock freezers.
When just-cooked food won't be consumed immediately and needs to be stored, blast chillers and shock freezers have enough power to chill foods to 40ºF or freeze them to -40ºF very quickly.
This has two important effects. First, it reduces the presence of pathogens making food off-limits before they have time to multiply. Second, it forms much smaller ice crystals than standard freezing, preserving food textures. By contrast, large ice crystals will break cells and make food mushy and unappetizing.
Blast chilling and shock freezing can be particularly important for large volume operations, as they need to cook a lot of food in advance of service. Often, this creates a need for blast chillers or shock freezers that have walk-in capacity where operators can roll items right into ideal temperatures.
For operations looking to turn walk-ins into blast chillers or shock freezers, an evaporator that can create air penetration at the food's cellular level is required. Specialized compressors and commercial refrigeration equipment from RDT can help.