How to thaw fish properly
Thawing fish is really an art in itself and in line with the development of freezing methods, it is also important to do the right thing when using your products. Here you will find out what happens in the fish when you freeze it in shock and how to do it to succeed best when you use your delicacies.
Frozen fish stores nutrients and vitamins
After the fish has been caught, freezing takes place. The development has progressed and you are now working with several different methods to store the freshness all the way to your dining table. We are not going to go deep into this but still want to mention a few different techniques down here. The reason for the freezing is that the water in the product forms crystals and in this way the product is protected from biological processes. Depending on the contents of the product, they freeze at different freezing points.
When the product is frozen, it happens to -18 degrees or colder. To get a long shelf life, the products are usually frozen between -25 to -35 degrees Celsius.
- Block freezing in contact freezer. Here the product is placed between two plates of the freezer that are very cold. The method is quite fast and the product becomes flat. If you think of a block of frozen cod, it is this technique that is used.
- Air freezing. The freezer is like a tunnel through which the product passes and cold air circulates through the tunnel both from above and below. Steaks tend to freeze in this game as they are very sensitive to unnecessary handling. It can be described as the product found in an airway with icy air.
- Impact freezing. This is a variant of the previous air freeze, but instead jets are used to maximize freezing and minimize product crystallization.
- Super freeze. Here the product is frozen by nitrogen or carbon dioxide. Nitrogen is very cold and when it is sprayed on the product it evaporates and immediately freezes the product. These freezers are available in different variants such as tunnel, spiral freezer or freezer.
- Spiral freezer. Very energy efficient freezer with sterile brine as a support and is suitable for products that can be submerged in water.
The glazing gives protection to the product.
To further protect the product, a thin layer of ice is made around the product and this is called frosting. This happens just before freezing and with this method the shelf life is extended since oxygen does not access the product.
Better handling provides better quality
At Delicatessendelmar we have been working with frozen products for almost 20 years and we know that quality is a crucial factor for our customers. The quality of a deep-frozen product is determined by how ice crystals form when the product is frozen, at what temperature storage is maintained, and how the product is defrosted. Today there is a technique to defrost fish in special refrigerators where moisture is added to make the process perfect.
When you freeze a product quickly below -25 degrees, many small ice crystals form on the product, slow freezing forms large crystals. These destroy the cell walls of food, they just burst. When you thaw the product later, it loses liquid and dries up. This also happens if the temperature during, for example, transport rises or falls. In such a process, the ice crystals can be allowed to grow further.
Tips when freezing at home
Here are some great tips for freezing your own produce at home.
- Keep food to be frozen as cold as possible. Put it in the fridge for a while to cool down a bit more.
- Pack cold food in a bag to squeeze out as much air as possible. The bag must be snug.
- Use freezer bags.
- If you take a frozen product out of the freezer, be sure to close the bag properly.
- If moisture or oxygen comes into contact with the fish, it destroys the vitamins and crystallization can form on top of the product.
- Your freezer should have a temperature of at least -18 degrees Celsius.
How to thaw best
Frozen foods should be thawed in the refrigerator. The reason for this is that the surface of the product should not get too hot during defrosting. Here, however, there is a problem, as thawing crystallizes again in the water and creates large crystals that destroy the cells of the fish meat. You see, then the fish meat releases liquid. Instead, the solution is to create a quick thaw.
You will get the best results if you thaw your plastic wrapped fish in the refrigerator overnight.