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What is IQF?

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. IQF is also referred to as flash freezing, quick freeze, or super freeze. You can also freeze food individually by blast chilling foods at a rapid pace.

Shop IQF Food

Common Flash Frozen Foods

Flash frozen peas in a bowl

A common example of this is IQF shrimp, where each shrimp in the bag is frozen individually instead of frozen into a block of shrimp. Below are examples of typical flash frozen foods:

  • Mixed Berries
  • Green Beans
  • Corn
  • French Fries
  • Chicken Breasts
  • Steaks
  • Bread and Rolls

Benefits of Flash Freezing

As IQF popularity grows, the benefits of flash freezing have become more evident in the foodservice industry. IQF can help you cut down costs and defrost food as you need it, instead of in large portions.

Better Quality

Chunked IQF mangos

Essentially, the faster you freeze your food the better quality it will remain in. When food is frozen slowly, ice crystals form. Big ice crystals typically dry out the food and impact the overall taste and flavor. To avoid this when flash freezing, consider using a blast chiller or IQF freezer.

Small Portions

One of the biggest benefits of individual quick freezing is having small portions of frozen food available at any time. Instead of thawing out an entire bag of frozen chicken breasts, IQF makes it easy to just defrost only the amount you need. Additionally, restaurants can appeal to customers who are trying to eat healthy by offering small portions on their menu.

How Do I Flash Freeze My Food?

Individually frozen vegetables in containers

The process of flash freezing your food is simple and just takes a little bit of extra prep time. Below, we outline the best way to flash freeze your food.

  1. If your food needs washed or rinsed, do so first. Products such as fresh fruit may need to be cleanedand have their stems removed before freezing.
  2. Separate the food into individual pieces to prepare for IQF.
  3. Place the food on a large baking sheet or tray to prepare for freezing. Ensure that the edges of the food are not touching to make sure they don’t stick together.
  4. Place the foods into a blast chiller, IQF freezer, or regular freezer.
  5. Once fully frozen, remove the food from the sheet or tray and place it into freezer safe storage containers or bags.
  6. Label the container or bag and return the food to the freezer. Your food is now flash frozen!
  7. Remove individually frozen food portions as needed from the freezer.

How to Flash Freeze Food Video

Use the following video to learn how to flash freeze your food and pracite IQF:

IQF foods are specifically easy to work with in the foodservice industry and prove to be a growing trend. IQF foods are perfect for making smoothies, meal prep, or offering smaller portion sizes in your restaurant.

Posted in: Foodservice Trends | Kitchen & Cooking Tips | By Laura Brent
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