Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I is for IQF

     IQF is restaurant lingo for Individually Quick Frozen.  Check out your freezer and you'll probably notice the words appearing on quite a few items.  IQF-ing your food lets you pull individual pieces of frozen goods out of your freezer without it sticking to everything else.  If you've ever tried to separate a frozen family size pack of pork chops vs. pulling a single chicken breast out of the giant bag, you know exactly how IQF benefits you.

     I love to IQF things.  It makes it so much easier for me to cook quick meals or prep instant snacks.

    For purposes of this demonstration, I'm going to show you how I IQF'd a pineapple.  Yep, if you've been around long enough, you'll recognize the pineapple my How to Peel A Pineapple Tutorial.


1) Start with a fresh pineapple that you have cut into similar sized chunks.

2) Place them in a single, non-touching layer on a baking sheet.    I use parchment paper to keep them from sticking to the pan.

3) Store in your freezer for at least 8 hours or until frozen solid. 

4) Once the pineapple is frozen remove them from the freezer.

Notice how each piece looks slightly dry.  This is because all the surface moisture is frozen and they won't stick together as long as we work quickly.  If they start to look glossy again, place the entire tray back in the freezer.

5) Place in your storage container of choice.  I actually got two quart bags out of the one pineapple since it was such a large pineapple.  Now, when I want a smoothie, I can just pull out a few chunks of frozen pineapple instead of having to wrestle with the entire bag of them.
     The best thing is that you can IQF almost any food item.  My favorite things to IQF: fresh fruit (allows me to buy in bulk), homemade meat balls, chicken pieces, pork chops, homemade dim sum, homemade pop tarts, mini pot pies, single servings of cooked rice, ground beef, ... the list could go on forever. 

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