When business owners choose a restaurant ice machine or bar ice machine that meets their ice needs, they tend to focus on the bar side of the business. If you run a bar or restaurant, most of your ice will indeed go towards drinks, but you also want to consider food preparation. Ice is used in the kitchen as well, especially for ice bath cooking.
Why is Ice Bath Cooking Important?
Foods are potentially dangerous if in the temperature zone of 40F – 140F degrees. Prolonged exposure in this temperature range (2 hours or longer) can cause food-borne illnesses. Refrigerators are not cold enough for food to cool quickly. The heat from the cooked food will have a detrimental impact on other items in the refrigerator.
That’s where commercial ice makers and clean ice come into the picture! Ice baths are the best way to halt the cooking process and begin the cooling process immediately. They are the safest way to cool down sauces, stocks, soup, or chili. They are also useful when preparing vegetables, shrimp, and potato salad. Any type of ice cube can work, but smaller cubes, like Hoshizaki crescent ice or sonic ice (nugget ice) will cool the water faster in ice bath cooking.
How Much Ice Do I Need for Ice Bath Cooking?
That depends on the type of food you prepare in your business. If you prepare a lot of sauces or vegetables that need quick cooling, you can go through ice fast.
If you’re trying to size the best commercial ice machine for your business, consider how much ice you’ll need for food preparation like ice bath cooking.
It’s important to talk with your cooking staff to estimate how much ice you might use in your kitchen.
Running out of ice can be a huge hassle. The average 10-lb. bag of ice costs around $3. Sure, that doesn’t seem like a lot, but if you are buying bags of ice to supplement your ice bath cooking, it can really add up. Rushing out to buy ice often means pulling an employee off the floor to the store. While there are delivery services that will bring ice to your location, they often charge a delivery fee.
Ice Saving Tips
Submerging hot food into an ice bath will cause the ice to melt, but there are ways to extend the life of your ice bath, so you’re not running through your ice supply.
Make sure to prepare your ice bath almost immediately before you need it. With ice bath cooking, time is of the essence! The longer ice sits out, the more time it has to melt.
Another way to keep ice baths cool is to add a few tablespoons of salt to the bath. Salt will help drop the temperature of the water, which will make it easier to cool food. This technique should only be used when the food is in another container, like a pan or pot. Adding salt to water during ice bath cooking will create a brine that can over-season food if you directly submerge it.
Finally, if you add the food directly to the ice bath, make sure to stir it every 10-15 seconds to help evenly cool the food. If you place the food in a container or colander before submerging, a metal container cools best.
Ice Bath Cooking Requires Sanitary Ice
Ice is considered food by the FDA – and for a good reason. Ice can carry germs for a short time, so maintaining a sanitary ice supply is a necessity.
A dirty ice maker will make dirty ice, so you want to make sure your commercial ice machine receives cleaning from a professional. You also want to make sure to follow ice safety best practices to ensure ice stays safe from contamination.
Easy Ice has managed over 20,000 ice machines. We recommend at least two professional cleanings a year from a qualified ice machine technician. Professional cleaning is important in maintaining a reliable and sanitary ice supply. We include two professional cleanings in all of our all-inclusive ice machine subscriptions.
If you’re looking for the best commercial ice machine for your business, along with preventive maintenance and cleaning, look no further. Our subscriptions include it all for a low monthly cost!
If you need help choosing an ice machine for your business, our helpful Ice Machine Experts are here to help. Contact us today!