Flash Freezing: Fish

Flash freezing is an accelerated process in which fish are frozen within hours after they have been caught (many on the boat while still at sea).

  • This locks in the nutrition, texture, moisture and flavor.  

Immediately upon bringing the catch aboard, it is blasted with extremely cold air - 60 below zero, or colder.

  • This perfectly preserves it.

By minimizing the timeframe between harvest and production, flash-freezing captures the fish at its peak of perfection.

General background on Flash-freezing technique:
  • Flash freezing is a process in which food is very quickly frozen at extremely cold temperatures. 
  • In commercial processing, foods are flash frozen so that as many nutrients are retained as possible, and to make sure that the food is as fresh and flavorful as it can be. 
  • The concept of flash freezing was developed by Clarence Birdseye, who wanted to find a way to eat fresh vegetables in the winter and to move produce around without the risk of damage.
  • He realized that freezing food at extremely cold temperatures well below the freezing point could be an excellent preservation method, and he turned the concept into a massive frozen foods company, inspiring other pioneers to do likewise.
  • On the industrial scale, this process is done in large freezers that get well below the freezing point.
  • Foods are ideally frozen as soon as they are prepared or picked, and they freeze within only a few hours because the temperatures are so cold. 
  • Once flash frozen, the foods can be moved to a conventional freezer with a temperature closer to the freezing point, and they should stay frozen solid.
Fishing boats often use flash freezing to keep their catch as fresh as possible, especially if they are working in remote areas and will not be reaching port for days or weeks. 
  • In these cases, the fish are cleaned and then frozen as they are caught, and when the hold is full, the fish are offloaded for sale. 

This method is also used to preserve fruit and vegetable crops, and to preserve frozen meals that consumers can re-heat as needed.