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July 51938. W. w. COWGILL ‘ PROCESS OF TREATING FOOD MATERIALS Filed Jan.’ 6, 1957 2,123,134 ‘ Si’atented July 5, 1938 ' 1 2,123,134 UNITED. STATES~ PATENT OFFICE 2,123,134 I raocsss or TREATING roon MATERIALS William W. Cowgill, Fail-?eld, Conn., assignor to Sardik Incorporated, Jersey City, N. J., a cor poration of Delaware Application January 6, 1937', Serial No. 119,186 2 Claims. (01. 99-204) This invention relates to the preparation of the freshness of the material or its food value, If desired, it can be subjected to a drying opera tion in the presence of an inert gas as has been natural food materials such as fruits and vege heretofore suggested, but the di?iculties of dry tables it is necessary to expose the inner struc ture thereof to the atmosphere thus subjecting the material to deleterious oxidation. Such oxi 10 dation with resulting discoloration takes place more rapidly with some fruits and vegetables than with others but generally the action is more rapid and more destructive with respect to ?nely divided material. Efforts have been made to prevent such oxida tion by performing the drying operation in an inert atmosphere of nitrogen or some other inert gas. While this has reduced oxidation somewhat the results have not been as satisfactory as de 2 color, vitamin content or the like having been affected to any substantial degree by oxidation. certain types of food material and to the subse quent treatment‘such as the drying thereof to render the materialv resistant to deterioration. In the preparation of numerous products from ing in an inert atmosphere are manifold and render such an operation impractical from an economic and commercial view point due to the fact that in any drying operation carried on com 10 mercially large volumes of moisture are driven off from the material being dried and‘ must be removed as rapidly as driven off. Obviously, the ‘ inert atmosphere into which the moisture is driv en, when the drying operation is conducted in 15 such an atmosphere, is removed with the mois ture and the operation of separating such mois ture from the inert gas andreturning the latter . to the drying chamber requires an expensive out sired, considerable oxidation being present‘ in- the lay of apparatus and considerably increases the 20 ?nished material in spite of such use of inert ;cost of drying without any corresponding ad :' vantage in so far as the step of extracting mois An object of this invention. is to provide a proc " ture is concerned. ess ‘of preparing and drying food materials,.of ‘ ‘I prefer to provide a process of preparing the such character as to produce a ?nished product .‘fresh material for such a subsequent treatment substantially free of oxidation and discoloration. as ‘drying in which the material is protected against any noticeable oxidation or the like dur A further object is to provide a process’ of pre paring and drying food materials so that the ing the preparatory steps and then subjecting the prepared, unoxidized, fresh material to a-dry finished product will be substantially free of oxi 30 dation and discoloration without the necessity of ing operation of such character that the mois ture is reduced'to the desired point and the ma ‘ conducting the drying operation in a non-oxidiz terial is rendered deterioration resistant so quick ing atmosphere. These and other objects are accomplished by ly as to substantially prevent oxidation during the present invention which can be carried out the drying treatment even'though such treat in any suitable apparatus such, for example, as ment is conducted in the ordinary atmosphere. While the present invention can be carried out that shown diagrammatically in the accompany with any desired apparatus the mechanism shown ing drawing. .’ diagrammatically in the drawing is typical. The The present invention contemplates a prepara tory treatment of the material of such characterv illustrated arrangement ‘includes a hopper l of 40 that substantially no oxidation -or discoloration any desired size and construction which, if de can occur while the material is being subjected to sired, can be sealed against the atmosphere after such preliminary operations as are required‘ to the material is placed therein. The hopper is condition it for whatever subsequent treatment is connected through a valve-controlled line 2' with intended such, for example, as drying. In the a source of inert gas such, for example, as a car present process the material is not only protected ’ bon dioxide tank 3. It is also connected through against oxidation resulting from direct contact a second valve-controlled line 2 with a vacuum pump or similar apparatus (not shown) so that with the atmosphere, but, where necessary,’ pro , vision is made forlikewise protecting it against the air in the hopper can be evacuated prior to oxidation resulting from such air or_oxygen as admitting inert gas thereto, should it seem desir 50 may be incorporated or entrapped in the fresh able to do so. A feed worm 4, driven from' any or untreated material. By suitable control of suitable source of power (not shown), is located the preparatory processes to which the material in the bottom of the hopper and extends part , is subjected it can be maintained in substantially way into a valve-controlled feed line ,5 leading 'to _§,“.,,.,-.its original fresh condition and subjected to such a housing 6 within which is located a pulping 55 ,a ?nal treatment as, for example. drying without mechanism 1 operated by a rotatable shalt v8 8&8. - ' 30 35 ' 40 45 50 ." - r 2 2,123,134 driven from any desired source of power. A stir ring device 9 is also provided in the housing 6 for thoroughly mixing the pulped material. The pulping mechanism has a waste outlet III for dis charging seeds, stems or the like which are sepa rated from the pulp by such apparatus. A valve controlled line H leads from the housing 6 to a distributing head l5, or the like, located near a distributing roller l5’ and adjacent a drying sur 10 face which is illustrated as being formed by the outer face of an interiorly heated rotatable drum 16 having associated therewith a scraper or blade IT for removing the dried material therefrom. The bottom of the pulper is preferably large 15 enough to form a reservoir in which a suitable quantity of fresh pulp can be held to provide a constant supply for the distributing head regard less of- the operation of the pulper. In the drawing a second hopper I is shown 20 which is also connected to the housing 6. The provision of two hoppers is desirable to permit the cleaning of one hopper without requiring any interruption to the process. ' The pulping mechanism is connected to the 25 carbon dioxide tank and to the source of vac uum by the valve-controlled lines'ill and 2|, re not be obstructed by any excess of pressure in the pulper. When conditions are such that delivery of in ert gas to the apparatus can not alone be de pended upon to properly remove all air there from, or when the material is of such character as to contain a relatively large amount of en trapped air or oxygen, it may be desirable to sub ject the apparatus and the material therein to a vacuum before the inert gas is delivered there 10 to. Such a vacuum not only helps to remove air and oxygen from the different parts of the appa ratus, but also effects the extraction of the great er proportion of any air or oxygen entrapped in the material. ‘ 15 As illustrated, this can be done by connecting the hopper I and the housing 6 with the vacuum pump or the like by opening the valves controlling the lines 2 and 2|. Subsequently these lines are closed and the inert gas is admitted to the hop 20 per and to the associated and connected appara tus from the tank 3 through the valve-controlled connections 2’ and 20. Obviously, the use of the vacuum is optional. After the‘ material has thus been separated 25 from any contact with the atmosphere and the apparatus has been ?lled with the inert gas, the The supply of'gas from the tank‘ 3 to the valve material is fed by the worm I through the line 5 controlled lines 2' and 20 leading to the hopper into the housing 6 where it is made into a pulp 30 and pulper, respectively, is controlled by a main , by the pulping mechanism 1, and the pulp so 30. tank valve 22. connected to the valve-controlled formed is thoroughly mixed by the stirring device lines through a union 23. spectively. e In accordance with the present invention the selected fruit or vegetable or any combination of 35 fruits, or of vegetables, or of fruits and vegetables is cleaned and any stems or-the like are re moved. With some materials such as bananas the skins will also be removed, but ___with other materials such as apples the skins may, if de sired, be left on the fruit and the whole fruit subjected to the process. The material may be cooked or uncooked as desired, but for the pur poses of the process no cooking is required ex cept that which may be necessary to soften such 45 materials as apples, beets or the like sufficiently to permit the forming of a satisfactory pulp thereof. Apples, for example, are usually divided into approximately 8 or 10 pieces and are cooked in a steam kettle or the like su?iclently to soften 5,0 them so that a suitable pulp can be easily pre pared. Tomatoes, on the other hand, can be in troduoed directly into the hopper without any preliminary treatment other than that of wash ing and cleaning. Bananas can also be intro duced directly into the pulping mechanism upon the removal of the skins. The material so pre pared is placed in the hopper I. Thematerial in the hopper is protected against oxidation by separating it from contact with the air. This can be done when it is not necessary to remove entrapped air and oxygen from the ma terial,-by introducing an inert gas into the hopper in such a way as to displace the air therefrom and to surround the material with such inert gas. At the same time, the air in other parts of the apparatus, such as the housing 5 is displaced by _ inert gas. Inthe illustrated embodiment this is accomplished by opening both the main valve 22 and the valves controlling the connecting lines between the tank 2 and the different parts of the apparatus. After the hopper and pulper are full of gas the main valve 22 is closed but the valves in the lines 2' and 20 are left open to provide a means for equalizing the pressure in the hopper 78 and pulper so that the free ?ow of material will 9. The pulp then ?ows through the valve-con trolled line H and is delivered to the drying ap paratus through the. distributing head i5. In order to avoid the necessity of conducting the drying operation in an inert atmosphere and at the same time to avoid oxidation of the ma terial during the step of reducing the moisture content thereof, I employ a drying operation in which the extraction of moisture from the ma 40 terial is accomplished in such a way as to fore stall substantially all oxidation thereof even though the drying is conducted in the ordinary atmosphere. The process of drying described in the Sartakoff Patent No. 1,908,489, May 9, 1933, 45 is especially suitable for use in connection with the present invention. ' In this drying operation the material is dis tributed by a suitable distributing mechanism such, for example, as the distributing head I! 60 and roller I!’ over a heated drying surface in such a way as to disperse the particles of pulp on the surface so that substantially each particle is directly exposed to the drying heat and is not insulated therefrom by any substantial accumu 65 lation of intervening particles. As illustrated, the drying surface is the outer surface of an interiorly heated, rotating. drum IS on which the‘ particles are dispersed by the distributing head and on which they are dried during the rotation thereof. The ‘dried particles are re moved by a suitable scraper II which is prefer ablyof ?exible steel pressed against the drying surface with sumcient pressure to insure a close contact across the entire surface so that the 65 scraper removes all the material thereon as the drum rotates. The dispersed particles, the mois- . ture content of which has been reduced to any predetermined point and preferably to between 3 and 6 per cent, are consolidated by thescrap er I‘! and form a thin'?lm ll of dried material 70 in which the individual particles are held to gether by the natural binding substances of the original material and which moves acrom the blade and can be collected in any desired man '75 i 2,123,134 ner. By dispersing the particles over the dry ing surface in the manner described the mois-' ture content is reduced to the desired point so quickly that the material is rendered deterioration resistant before any noticeable oxidation or dis coloration occurs, and the moisture is driven oil‘ in such volume as to assist in keeping the ma terial on the drum out of contact with air. The ?nished product is composed of particles hav 10 ing substantially the color, vitamin content, ?avor and food value of the fresh material, and a moisture content such that it can be kept without substantial deterioration over prolonged periods of time. 15 I claim: ‘ ' 1. The improvement in the art of preparing a concentrated food product of reduced moisture 'content from material of cellular formation, 3 moisture content to a predetermined point so quickly as to forestall substantial oxidation thereof during‘the drying operation, and con solidating said“ particles at a temperature'such that the constituent binding substances of the original material will hold said particles together. 2. The improvement in the art of preparing a. concentrated food product of reduced moisture -content from material of cellular formation, which comprises charging the material, softened 10 by cooking if necessary, into a closed receptacle, evacuating the receptacle, thereafter filling, it with an inert atmosphere, withdrawing the ma terial from the receptacle without admitting Vair thereto and passing it out of contact with air to 15 a second receptacle in which air has been re placed by an inert atmosphere and in said re- ' ceptacle converting the material into a pulp con taining ?nely divided particles of cellular mate- by cooking if necessary, into a receptacle, then‘ rial all without access of air thereto, withdraw 20 ?lling‘said receptacle with an inert atmosphere, ing said material from said receptacle through a withdrawing the material from the receptacle closed passage terminating in close proximity to which comprises charging the material, softened without admitting air thereto and passing it out of contact with air to a second receptacle in which air has been replaced by an inert atmos phere and in such- receptacle converting the material into a pulp ‘containing finely divided particles of cellular material, withdrawing said material from said receptacle through a closed '30 passage terminating in close proximity 'to a heated drying surface and then distributing the material over said surface to substantially sepa rate said particles thereon so that each parti cle will be subjected to a substantially equal 35 amount of heat, subjecting the particles in dis persed condition to heat sui?cient to reduce the a heated drying surface and then‘ distributing the material over said surface to substantially sep arate said particles thereon so that each parti 25 cle will be subjected to a substantially equal amount of heat, subjecting the particles in dis persed condition to heat su?icient to reduce the moisture content to a predetermined point so quickly as to forestall substantial oxidation 30 thereof during the drying operation,-and consoli dating said particles at‘a temperature such that the constituent binding substances of the origi nal material will hold said particles together. WILLIAM W. COWGILL.