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frozen peas

Frozen food can often get a bad rap. For many families, a busy schedule means the convenience of frozen food can be a life-saver. However, there are some common misconceptions about frozen food that make us feel guilty somehow for not having the time to buy, prepare and cook fresh food every evening. Here we examine some of those frozen food myths and debunk them for you:

Myth 1: It’s Less Nutritious

Not so. Frozen food can sometimes lose a little of its original nutritional value the
longer it’s stored, however it’s often more nutritious than the fresh food section in
your local store. Fresh fruit and veg, particularly those that are out of season, are
picked before they fully ripen and shipped long distances. During this time, it loses a
lot of its nutritional value. Frozen food is picked just at its ripest and flash frozen to
seal in that goodness and those lovely nutrients.
Your chosen cooking method also has a big impact on whether you retain or lose
nutrition. Steaming, for example, retains nutrients better than boiling.

Myth 2: It’s More Expensive

If you’re a savvy shopper, frozen food doesn’t have to be pricey. Convenience meals
will be more expensive than buying potatoes and fresh veg, but still cheaper than
fast food or eating out for a busy family. Off-season fruit and veg will go up in price
and stocking up your freezer with frozen versions instead will save you money on
your shopping bill. Households might consider two freezers for stocking up on
essentials, while commercial caterers would benefit from large Commercial Cold Rooms.

Myth 3: You Can Freeze Anything

Most foods can be frozen and still retain their original flavour and texture. Some,
however, don’t respond well to the freezing process and will soon lose their flavour.
Sauces that are cream-based will separate when frozen and fruit and veg with a
high-water content don’t fare well, such as lettuce. You should never freeze eggs or
canned produce, without removing the egg from the shell and the contents from the
can and resealing in freezer-safe containers.

Myth 4: Frozen Food Keeps Forever

While frozen foods can be kept far longer than fresh, too long in the freezer will see
them lose their taste and quality. Here is a quick guide to how long some main food
groups can be frozen:

Raw meat for between 4-12 months and cooked meat for between 2-4 months.

Casseroles, Soups and Stews for between 2-3 months.

Fruit & Veg for between 8-12 months

Be sure to let cooked foods cool completely before freezing and always package
them in moisture-proof containers. When using freezer bags, ensure all air is
removed from the bag before sealing.

Myth 5: Freezing Food Destroys Bacteria

Freezing food makes bacteria inactive but will never eliminate it completely. If the
food is contaminated before it is frozen, some of that bacteria will remain when
defrosted. That is why it is so important to cook frozen food thoroughly and at the
recommended temperature and check it is piping hot all the way through before
eating. When preparing fresh food to be frozen, always follow good kitchen hygiene
practices.

Commercial Kitchen

Working in catering is a challenging job, which can be made even tougher when you’re stuck using the wrong equipment.

Whether it’s out-dated, only partly functioning or just not your first choice, many chefs have an image of what their ideal kitchen would look like and it’s probably not the one they are currently stood in. If you’re a chef with a budget for some new equipment, where do you begin? You’ll want to get the most out of your existing space, make it cost-effective yet efficient and be able to complete your job successfully.

1. Suitable for demand

The equipment you choose must be able to meet the demand of your customers.
You need to ensure that you can easily produce enough food to match the numbers
you regularly receive. Think about the power capabilities of the equipment too. Not
enough and it will struggle to keep up, possibly experience a breakdown and require
mechanical maintenance.

2. Will the appliances meet Food Safety Requirements? 

As you would expect, catering is a highly-regulated and inspected industry. Yet still,
there are over 1,000,000 food poisoning cases annually attributed to professional
eateries. There are very strict penalties for not adhering to food safety laws,
including imprisonment. Investing in purpose-built, specially designed equipment
such as blast chillers and Walk in Cold Rooms from Fridge Freezer Direct will ensure
you stick to the letter of the law, reduce the risk of ill health and protect your
business and reputation.

3. Energy Efficiency

Yes, new equipment is a substantial investment, but you need to weigh up the long-
term benefits. Commercial kitchens use more energy per square foot than any other
commercial enterprise, so you’ll be wanting to make savings when it comes to the
use of that energy. With new energy-efficient appliances, you could save up to 20%
on your annual fuel bill.

4. Suitability for a commercial environment

This point might seem obvious, but you should never use domestic appliances in a
commercial kitchen. You need commercial goods for a commercial kitchen, not least
because any warranties will be invalid if you use a domestic appliance in an
inappropriate setting. They also won’t be up to the demands placed on them.

5. Size Matters

Most importantly, will the equipment fit? You need to measure up thoroughly and
consider how your existing space can accommodate any new appliances you want
to install. If your space is restricted, you could consider multi-functional appliances
like a combi-oven to help you in your space-saving quest.

6. Will your appliances be fit for the future?

Businesses with ambition will be looking to invest in equipment that fits in with future
plans and won’t hold them back. When you’ve decided on an appliance, check if a
newer model is about to come on the market that it might be worth waiting just a little
longer for.

7. Will your equipment cope with changing food trends?

Catering and food have changed hugely in recent years and could do the same
again over the next few years. With increasing knowledge and press information
covering topics such as allergies, food intolerances, veganism and paleo diets – will
your investment help or hinder you when coping with emerging trends?

Old Stone Ice Room

We would find it hard to live now without the aid of our fridges and freezers.

Imagine not being able to indulge in some ice cream on a hot day, pick up some fresh fruit from the supermarket or relax with an ice-cold beverage.
Imagine having to go food 
shopping daily to ensure you have fresh produce for the day. It’s not just food either – not being able to store medicine or sending fresh flowers to a loved one!

During the last couple of hundred years, the ability to chill and freeze has changed the way we live our lives completely.
Suddenly, we could enjoy cheaper produce 
from faraway lands, climate and season no longer mattered when it came to what foods would be available. It bolstered industrial processes and in turn, became an entire industry of its own.

When we speak of refrigeration, it means the process of cooling a substance or areas to below the current environmental temperature. Humans have always sought to refrigerate things and themselves in hot climates. It is not a process that’s new but the appliances we now use to achieve this are relatively new in terms of human history.

Saltpetre

How did our ancestors refrigerate?

Ice has been harvested since before the first millennium. The Chinese, Hebrews, Greeks and Romans would store large pits of snow and then insulate the pit.
If you 
needed a cool drink, you could use some of the snow or place a container of food into the pit to prolong its life. The Egyptians would leave boiled water on the roof overnight to cool in the night breeze.

In the warm climates of southern Europe, saltpetre was dissolved in bottles of water which had the effect of cooling the water and forming ice. By the end of the 1600s, using ice in drinks, juices and desserts had become very popular amongst the French nobility.

Most households had to store easily spoiled foods like milk and butter in cool, dark cellars, in containers underneath lakes and wells or in outside window boxes.
Building a springhouse over a running stream was another way to keep stored items cooler; a very basic and early version of the Commercial Cold Rooms we see today from Fridge Freezer Direct.
However, none of these methods were particularly 
efficient in preventing food from spoiling quickly. Bacteria was still a major problem and pasteurization had not yet been discovered. Many people suffered from ‘summer complaint’ from consuming rotten food during warmer months.

Some other old methods of food preservation included spicing, salting, pickling, drying and smoking. Diet was also different because of this lack of refrigeration, with a focus mainly on salted meats and bread.

It is only now, thanks to advances in refrigeration technology that we enjoy such a varied diet consisting of fresh meat, fruits, vegetables and dairy products. We can enjoy foods from around the world, as transportation is refrigerated. In the past, food would have spoiled a long time before it ever reached us. It’s hard to imagine a time when the food in your home had to be eaten on a day-by-day basis with little opportunity for saving and storing.

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