IQF stands for individual quick freezing. It is a common freezing method in the foodservice industry and consists of freezing individual pieces of food separately from the other pieces at extremely low temperatures. The IQF foods are then stored in freezer safe storage containers or bags and are available for easy thawing. IQF is also referred to as flash freezing, quick freeze, or super freeze.
The process of IQF relies on freezing the product extremely quickly. Fast enough freezing causes much smaller ice crystals to develop within the product. Ice Crystals that develop with slower methods of freezing are bigger and these crystals damage the cells and tissues of the product.
This is the concept behind the process of IQF.
Food and produce that is frozen through slower means of freezing tend to be dry and damaged when they are defrosted. The formation of larger ice crystals damage the cell walls and reduce the quality of the food. IQF freezing however does not allow the process of bigger ice crystal formation to take place.
The process of ice crystallization takes place between 30 to 25º F or -1 to -4º C. IQF Freezers freeze content extremely fast, bypassing this crucial zone as quickly as possible. This ensures that the food manages to freeze while barely having the chance to develop ice crystals within itself, thereby maintaining product quality.
By quickly freezing the product, the cells within the food are undamaged and preserved so that a higher quality result is acquired every time.
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