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There's a french chain, picard, which sells gourmet frozen food , for the french. And they really like it - so it must be really tasty. But it's expensive.

On the other hand ,some families , that want to save time and money, cook food in large batches and freeze it for the whole week.

Assuming those families know how to cook great food(say they are the top 20% of home cooks), what are the missing pieces/technologies for them to make really high quality, gourmet FROZEN food ?

Is it only flash freeze tech ? or something more ?

  • Even if you don't have a blast chiller, chest freezers are easier to come by and as they're more intended for long-term storage can often hold a lower temp than your basic fridge/freezer. (design also helps, as you don't have the cold air fall out every time you open it). – Joe Oct 19 '15 at 23:21
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    Making food for a family for a week is pretty far from the scale you need to actually make a business selling it. And you seem to be assuming that the quality of that larger scale frozen food is the same as that made by great home cooks just cooking when they really have time for it. I'm not sure why you're asking for missing technology. (The question of what it'd take to make high-quality frozen food at home is a good one; I'm just not sure that it's really relevant to why there aren't home cooks trying to do what Picard is doing.) – Cascabel Oct 19 '15 at 23:34
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    Side note: I don't know the chain, and it may well be excellent, but just because a lot of French like it, doesn't mean it also is excellent. Being French doesn't automatically make one a gourmet with superb taste, that only eats the best of the best. – Willem van Rumpt Oct 20 '15 at 8:08
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    Cooking food for a week doesn't neccesarilly mean you should freeze it. Most recipes cooked on sunday could still be good on friday if just kept in refrigirated. It's important to remember that freezing will almost always reduce the quality of the dish (except for popsicles) – Yaron Idan Oct 20 '15 at 18:13
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    @Yaron Idan agreed, but if you do it, a fridge thermometer is a worthwile investment. – rackandboneman Jan 16 '16 at 22:33
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Flash-freezing equipment wouldn't hurt, but for the normal home cook, the main things are to chill it as quickly as reasonably possible, package it with as much air removed as possible (vacuum sealers help here) in individual meal-sized portions, then freeze.

Thaw in the fridge if possible, or by heating your vacuum-sealed bag in a water bath. (Microwaves are pretty bad at heating frozen blocks of food and even with a lot of attention paid will tend to overheat part while other parts remain frozen.)

Choose recipes that work for the equipment you have, and adapt your weeknight process to combine the frozen ingredients with fresh ones.

Soups, many sauces, chilis, beans and rice dishes freeze well under normal home conditions, as do some meat preparations (the texture can change, and usually, the larger the cut of meat, the more likely it is that the change from freezing will be negative). Without flash-freezing, foods with a high water content tend to become mushy, so that the broccoli you steamed to perfection will most likely thaw out to be limp and potatoes may be mushy.

  • For those large meat cuts, or foods that are sensitive to regular freezing, if i separate them to individual pieces as much as possible, and pack in a vacuum bag, will it last a week in the fridge, unfrozen ? – hulkingtickets Oct 21 '15 at 15:27
  • For cooked meat, the usual recommendation is to use within 3-5 days of refrigerating. But it might taste better freshly cooked anyway. If you are really planning to cook everything on the weekend, have your pot roast or filets then and freeze leftovers to use in the other meals. But you could also broil some chicken while reheating something else, for example. – NadjaCS Oct 21 '15 at 16:13
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Flash-freezing is a large part of it. Being somewhat energy/equipment intensive, it's hard to imagine a good "home scale" approach to that (well, I can imagine a Dewar of liquid nitrogen, but I'd find it hard to justify the expense of keeping it filled for improving one's home-frozen meals.)

You can purchase "laboratory freezers" that will hold -70C or even -150C, but they will be expensive to buy (low volume production) and expensive to run. Depending on model they may not deal well with quickly cooling to those temperatures (rate of cooling may not be as high as in needed, even if ultimate temperature is cooler than needed.)

Since you seem to be nibbling around the edges of "and turn that into a business selling frozen food" you have:

  1. first, the need for a commercial kitchen, with all appropriate licenses and inspections. In most places you cannot cook commercially out of "your home kitchen" and need a second kitchen just for the commercially prepared foods.
  2. second, the need for salespeople.
  3. third, the need for distribution. Refrigerated warehouses, refrigerated trucks, etc.
  4. fourth facing previously established competition.

I make great sorbet. I don't even need a flash freezer, it being a frozen product. I'd more than likely go broke trying to make a commercial success of selling it (and I might grow to hate making it, too, especially if I was losing money to do so.) I much prefer to have a hobby I enjoy than a business I might end up hating. I can afford to lose money at the scale of the hobby (or even consider "saved money .vs. buying commercial product" and call it a win some days.)

  • Actually my guess was not about selling frozen food.I wonder though, maybe there's a place for a flash freezing service, or a technological innovation to bring it to homes - considering it's the only missing piece that might allow a big reduction in home cooking times, at least for some people. – hulkingtickets Oct 21 '15 at 15:24
  • Simple enough, buy a Dewar and have the local gas supplier drop by and keep it filled with LN2. Only takes money. Getting people to part with money for the incremental improvements offered by it is a different issue. People with money to spend who want to reduce home cooking time usually go out to eat, or order take-out. – Ecnerwal Oct 21 '15 at 15:32
  • Actually flash freezing in the food industry means cooling to about -5°C in less than 1.5-2 hours, which is easily doable in a home refrigerator. Liquid nitrogen is not used in mass food production - it's too expensive for this. – Eugene Petrov Nov 14 '15 at 22:42

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