The Process

It was our nationwide marketing of quality sandeels that popularised the concept of quality blast frozen baits. The combination of our extensive advertising and editorial coverage in the angling press educated anglers to quality and a new era was born in consumer awareness. Perhaps, the best form of flattery is to be copied and it certainly is true that many other sandeel suppliers have made considerable efforts to improve their quality because of our success in creating a much more discerning market. The concept of blast freezing, however, is still all too often misunderstood. Recently, one producer claiming to blast freeze was simply putting an electric fan into a domestic chest freezer!

The superb quality of Ammo sandeels is only achieved with an almost fanatical desire by us to get the eels packed and blast frozen as quickly as possible. Spoilage is reduced to an absolute minimum. The quality of fish prior to freezing is extremely important and this is when we at Ammodytes really score with sandeels being graded, packed and frozen from live and our local mackerel often within an hour and never more than three hours from landing. We use a fast boat capable of 38 knots, enabling a quick dash back to the harbour.

We adopt the same philosophy with all the baits and will not compromise quality under any circumstances.

Our freezing capacity consists of commercial blast freezing equipment with 25 h.p. compressors matched to balanced evaporators. In addition we now have cryogenic injection to guarantee virtually instant freezing.

High speed freezing is essential for good quality fish products. Fish flesh comprises 60% to 80% water and as the temperature falls below 32.F, ice crystals begin to form throughout the tissue. If the rate of cooling is too slow the crystals formed are large, thus breaking up the texture of the flesh. Fast freezing forms small crystals within the structure of the cell, allowing the flesh to remain firm when thawed. Slow freezing also concentrates salts and enzymes within the cells, which become more active and adversely affect texture.