How to safely cool and freeze 40 gallons of gumbo?

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by colorado hick, Jun 14, 2013.

  1. colorado hick

    colorado hick

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    Long time home cook here whom is in charge of preparing food for a school fundraiser.  Our plan is to make 40 gallons of gumbo the weekend before the event, then freeze it in 2.5 gallon food safe containers, and then thaw it and bring it back to a boil before we serve it.

    We did it last year and mostly things worked great, except it took us a few hours to cool down the large pot to the point where we could put it in plastic containers.  We ended up setting the 40 gallon pot in a kiddie pool full of ice and using these chill sticks (which i thought were kind of a waste of money).

    What is the safest and most economical way to cool this much liquid?  I want to get it to room temperature and then we can fill the containers and move them to a different location where there is a walk-in freezer.  I thought about using dry ice, or getting lots of smaller diameter stainless steel containers (like turkey fryer pots) that would have more surface area in the ice bath.  Or maybe a roll of copper that is hooked up to a hose that i can drop in the pot?  Thanks in advance for the help!
     
  2. brandon odell

    brandon odell

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    You have to add liquid back in when you reheat it right? How about freezing that liquid (ice cubes or frozen stock) and dumping it into the pot to help cool it. Then, you just don't add it when you are reheating it because it's already there.

    You could also put it in separate 4-inch hotel pans and ice bath them separately. Separate, shallow containers will cool a lot faster than one deep pot.
     
    aye dumb likes this.
  3. twyst

    twyst

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    Is liquid nitrogen an option :p

    As said above, shrink it down into smaller containers, large shallow containers are best.   The ice paddles you mentioned above are NOT a waste, they definitely help.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2013
  4. left4bread

    left4bread

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    Seriously, rent a commercial kitchen with a walk-in cooler.

    That's a lot of people potentially getting sick. Not worth the risk.

    Or, if you're going to bother thawing and re-heating, why not just make it the day of the event?
     
  5. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    Use 10 (6") hotel pans and ice bath. You should be able to rent the pans for about $20 and even better since it is for a school fundraiser hit them up for an equipment donation for a day.
     
  6. david swartz jr

    david swartz jr

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    Do you know any homebrewers? They might have a wort chiller. Essentially a big, coiled metal tube that you put in the hot wort and run cold water through to get it cooled down ASAP.
     
  7. rowantree

    rowantree

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    Has anyone every tried filling 2-liter soda bottles with water, freezing them and using them to cool down big pots?  I've use something like the mentioned "chill sticks" that were basically four-blade shaped "bottles" filled with water and kept in the freezer, so I thought of soda bottles one day for the same thing.   You could tie cotton twine around the necks, drop them in in some number that would fit, and stir the whole thing for a while, if they thaw, you can easily replace them and cool the inside of the pot quickly.  Is this feasible?  Any reason not to do it?
     
  8. eloki

    eloki

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    What about dry ice?  They're not too expensive.
     
  9. duckfat

    duckfat

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    The rapid cool paddles in combination with an ice bath after transferring to smaller pots or SS inserts is by far the best option.

     Hotel pans are not a lot of fun to ice bath unless you have a commercial kitchen with heat wells that you can turn off and ice. Even then you will probably not be able to cool all of your product at once.

    The rapid cool paddles for a product like gumbo are most assuredly not a waste of $$. They are essential.

    Dave

    http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&ke...vptwo=&hvqmt=b&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_68llzemioc_b
     
  10. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    Last year they used a kiddie wading pool to chill the 40 gallon pot, so using the same pool again this year would make it a piece of cake to chill a bunch of hotel pans at the same time.
     
  11. duckfat

    duckfat

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    There wouldn't be any thing easy about chilling hotel pans in a kiddie pool unless you put all of the hotel pans in the pool first and then filled it with ice and water. Chilling in a 40 gallon pot with a couple of rapid cool paddles would be much easier, more efficient and considerably safer. 6" deep hotel pans do not cool rapidly on the interior especially with a product like gumbo. IMO you'd still need rapid cool paddles.

    Dave