The invention of refrigeration revolutionised food storage and preparation. In the past, to store meat for prolonged periods, it either had to be stored in a hole in the ground packed with straw and snow or ice from the mountains, or be preserved by curing or smoking. Now, the life of just about every animal or plant product can be prolonged by simply putting it in a fridge or freezer. The fridge and freezer are essential devices in the catering industry, and not only do they prolong food life and reduce food waste, but refrigeration can save time, and allow chefs to prepare certain foods in advance.
Advantages of the Fridge Freezer
Fridge freezers have a number of advantages over separate fridge and freezer devices. Most importantly, they take up less room, with the fridge and freezer stacking on top of each other, or long fridge compartments standing upright side by side. Ongoing maintenance costs are reduced with one compressor operating both systems – fewer parts mean less maintenance. Fridge freezers can also work out cheaper than purchasing separate devices. For suggestions of how best to freeze food, check out bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/top-tips-freezing-food.
Domestic Fridge Freezers
Most domestic fridge freezers will consist of a fridge unit placed on top of a freezer unit with drawers. Such devices tend to have separate doors for each unit, and placing the fridge, which is likely to be used more often, on top of the freezer minimises the amount of bending over that needs to be done. These freezer bottom fridges come in three splits: 50/50, 60/40 and 70/30. The fridge and freezer compartments will be of equal size in a 50/50 fridge freezer, while the fridge unit will take up 70 percent of the total height of a 70/30 split device. For further information on the proper storage of leftovers, check out nhs.uk/Livewell/homehygiene/Pages/food-leftovers-safety.aspx
Space within the freezer compartment is often maximised through a number of clever design features. Frost-free freezer compartments do not need to be defrosted and since ice will never form, all the space is always available. Some units have shelves in the door, similar to those found on a fridge door. These are particularly useful for storing food upright, and may be useful for boxes of ice lollies and pizzas.
Commercial Fridge Freezers
Commercial Fridge freezers, such as those available at Fridge Freezer Direct, are specifically designed to meet the needs of catering establishments that have limited space within their busy kitchens. Combined units can be particularly useful in the catering environment, as ingredients for dishes can be stored near each other, even if some are frozen and some are refrigerated. Minimising the amount of movement needed around the kitchen can both save time and reduce accident risk.
Side-by-side or American style fridge freezers are generally larger than freezer bottom designs and may be most useful for restaurants and hotels. Stainless steel designs are particularly suitable for the commercial setting where hygiene is of the utmost importance.