A lot of nitrogen ice cream parlors are coming up these days. Just dip the ice cream mix in a pool of liquid nitrogen and you get the fancy and trending scoop of ice cream. But this is not it. The conversion of ice cream mix to the fancy looking scoop involves the process of cryogenic freezing. Dive right in to know more!
Introduction to Cryogenic Freezing
Cryogenic freezing is a type of freezing which requires extremely low temperatures, generally below -238 Fahrenheit (-150 Celsius). A tank of liquid nitrogen is usually used to supply a cryonic freezer (for storing laboratory samples at a temperature of about −150 °C). It is a revolution in the field of food preservation.
It reduces the temperature through direct application of a medium. The medium is usually liquid carbon dioxide or liquid nitrogen. There are two types of cryogenic – spray and immersion.
- Spray system
As the name suggests, liquid carbon dioxide or nitrogen sprayed on the food item as it travels on a belt inside the freezer. This results into a high degree of dehydration. But this may result in lump formation or sticking to the belt.
- Immersion system
In this system, the food items are separately dipped in the liquid carbon dioxide or nitrogen. The level of dehydration obtained by this system is unbeatable. No lump formation takes place in this case. This is because the food items are dipped separately.
Advantages of Cryogenic Freezing
The technology of cryogenic freezing comes packed with various advantages over the other freezing methods.
- It is unbelievably fast method of freezing foods.
- It produces extreme low temperatures.
- The set up takes less space as compared to other freezers.
- It is easy to maintain.
- You obtain high quality frozen foods.
- It has high efficiency and low running costs.
- It has minimum impact on the environment.
But every great thing comes with a price. Likewise, there are some disadvantages of cryogenic freezing as well.
- The machine parts may face wear due to extreme cold temperatures.
- Leakage of liquid nitrogen may lead to visibility issues in the factory which can cause other accidents.
- It requires continuous supply of refrigerant and cannot function in it’s absence.
- It leads to evaporative loss and dripping loss. This reduces the value of the product especially in case of meats and poultry product.
- There is loss of some pigments due to drip loss during thawing. This can adversely affect the color of the product.
This method is now on the trending list for food preservation. But there are only limited applications of this in food processing. Researchers are still trying to figure out ways to eliminate the disadvantages of this process.
Wanna read about more such emerging technologies? You can check out our article on 3D Food Printing and Its Uses.