Quality Frozen Meats Come from Quality Freezer and Coolroom Performance

20 October 2017

A work-frazzled kitchen chef works his magic. The ingredients of his creation centre on a juicy cut of prime rib roast. Surely the meal is destined to satisfy a hungry customer before he happily orders dessert, right? There’s a factor we’re forgetting, a point in the cooking process that comes between meat delivery day and the frying pan. Coolroom performance, a quality freezer arrangement, directly influences frozen meat freshness.

Coolroom Storage Conditions: The Freshness Question 

Everyone knows that meat is preserved when it’s properly stored at a low temperature. The chilly environment stops cellular degradation, forces microbial organisms into a state of dormancy, and freezes the water in the meat’s soft tissues. Safely sustained at 0°C or below, the frozen meat defrosts as a tasty cut because freshness has been locked into this perishable commodity. That’s the ideal objective here, but the freshness factor is a fussy creature. For example, should the temperature drop too low, certain enzymes can be stripped from the meaty tissue. The food is still safe to consume, but now the meat has changed to the point that the intended flavour is lost.

Shutting Down Textural Alterations 

The clue here is the watery liquid that freezes on top of the meat. That icy lining isn’t limited to the surface of the beef or lamb cut. It’s permeating every cell of the animal tissue and forcing those cells outwards. If those cell walls rupture, the food is going to arrive at the table as a mushy mess, a meal even the most creative cook won’t be able to save. If that unfortunate scenario is to be avoided, ceratin freezer variables require attention. The quantity of water in the freezer and the time taken to chill the meat are both manageable variables here, so use a top-notch walk-in appliance, not some generic model that lacks a quick-freeze feature. Incidentally, should this problem persist, an energy audit is recommended. Damaged door seals, poorly trained staff members, and ageing insulation panels all impact the cooling envelope, which is when superior appliances turn bad.

Even if the branded coolroom unit is working at peak efficiency, operator errors and poor management techniques compromise this freshness middleman every day. Open doors and those selfsame damaged components allow oxygen into what should be a fully sealed room or enclosure. Freezer burn sets in, coolroom performance goes out the window, and the meat is ruined. Counterintuitively, ice-damaged meats can even end up dried out, probably because the ruptured cells can no longer store fluids. Loss of enzymes, flavour and texture, quality frozen meats are unlikely if a freezer is underperforming.

Mark Connelly
C&M Coolroom Services
E-mail: markconnelly@cmcoolrooms.com.au
Mobile: 0412 536 315

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