Blast Chillers

Blast chillers drop food temperatures from 160 degrees F to 35 degrees F in 4 hours or quicker.

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With blast chillers, proper temperatures can mean the difference between maintaining food quality during cooling and potentially creating an unsafe environment that breeds bacteria. Proper blast chiller maintenance is important from a safety standpoint since temperature consistency is key for HACCP reporting.

When purchasing a blast chiller, operators need to first determine food volume before choosing which size unit is appropriate. Blast chillers are sized by the number of pounds that can be accommodated at one time. Units typically use 2-inch-deep pans that hold about 10 pounds of product. 

Blast chillers remove the heat from food, bringing temperatures down from 160 degrees F to 38 degrees F in 90 minutes or less. This process reduces the possibility of bacterial growth.

Refrigeration, such as walk-ins and reach-ins, holds ingredients cold and at food-safe temperatures until operators need to serve the food or assemble menu items. In contrast, blast chillers remove heat from food items, bringing them down to safe temperatures.

The average service life of a blast chiller can vary, depending on use, environment and various other factors but most last between 5 and 10 years. Unlike refrigeration equipment, blast chillers are not designed for continuous operation and should be shut off when not in use.

One of the biggest issues with blast chillers is that operators commonly underestimate these units’ complexity. Fortunately, with newer technology and control boards, these units have become easier to use than in the past. Still, chilling product in blast chillers is much different than simply placing food in a refrigeration unit. There needs to be an educational component for those working with this equipment about how food should be sized, shaped and packaged prior to the chilling process for optimum results and to ensure adherence to proper food safety protocol.

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