Quick Freezing and Individually Quick Frozen Products
Freezing is considered, all over the world, as one of the best methods for long-term preservation of perishable foods. Freezing reduces chemical reactions as well as microbial activity in the tissue, thus extending the shelf life of the product. Next to fresh foods, frozen items attract high consumer acceptance in terms of sensory parameters including appearance, texture, and flavor, as well as nutritional value, as presented in Table 4.1.1 In developed countries, the proportion of fish that is frozen has been constantly increasing, which has reached a share of 40% of fish production.2 Global production of frozen seafood including fillets and shellfish has increased from 24 mt in 1988 to 27 mt in 2001.2 The growing world markets for frozen food products, attract innovations in freezing techniques, shifting from bulk freezing of commodities to consumer friendly and convenient, individually quick frozen (IQF), and value-added products. This chapter is intended to discuss the potential of individual quick-freezing technology for the value addition of seafood. At the outset, general aspects on freezing of fishery products are discussed including shelf life of frozen items, quality changes during freezing and frozen storage, and techniques to control such changes. This is followed by discussion on technology for quick freezing, IQF fishery products, advantages of the IQF process, and its potential applications.