Field Reports: Cooker-cooler brings home-cooked flavor to soup production
Unique agitation system provides versatility and thermal penetration without overcooking.
The objective at Truesoups was to remain true to the company's name.
"We needed a kettle to duplicate in our process the way we would make our soups at home-but in a commercial setting and at commercial scale," explains Bruce Rowe, chief executive officer of Truesoups, a Kent, Wash.-based processor of refrigerated and frozen soups for the foodservice market.
The Chester-Jensen Model 70N40 Cooker-Cooler filled the bill when Truesoups installed the first of its seven cone-bottom, steam-jacketed process vessels several years ago. The company's current soup count tops 200 varieties of refrigerated and frozen pouch-packed soups. That number continues to grow with the company's penetration into an expanding array of segments including restaurants and upscale grocery stores.
"We make soups of many different densities and viscosities," adds Shannon Moshier, president and head of Truesoups research and development. Her litany of Truesoups varieties includes a light and brothy Tomato Basil as well as a thick, bean-laden Rattlesnake Chili, a heavy Chicken Coconut Curry, and a moderately thick Broccoli Cheddar.
The 30-degree cone-bottom design of the 70N40 provides a higher ratio of surface to product volume than hemispherical cookers. But it is the unit's unique agitation system that makes it so versatile.
Three distinct agitating elements help blend product, moving broth and particulate away from the cooking surface continuously. The result is thermal penetration without overcooking. A 360-degree sweep agitator scrapes the cone bottom with nylon or UHMW scraper blades. A counter-rotating tri-blade agitator operates at variable speed in both forward and reverse directions, and enables high-speed superblending. A large, curved, stationary baffle completes the agitation system. The unit can be used to heat, hold, simmer, saut?brown, braise, mix, melt, or cool any pumpable food product.
The contact surface of the bottom and insulated sidewalls come in types 304 and 316 stainless steel. The four agitator drive assemblies include heavy-duty gear reducers and U-frame motors. Other options include modified tri-blade assemblies for special mixing and a quick-blade release feature.
Full kettles of some soup varieties can be brought to a rolling boil in less than 11 minutes. With a high number of foodservice orders calling for limited runs of an assortment of products, the ability to cook and cool product in the same vessel enhances the company’s versatility.
Today, Truesoups operates seven 400-gallon units, several of which run 20 hours per day, five days a week. The 70N40 enables close to ideal temperature control on the company's wide spectrum of products. "We need to create a product in gallon quantities in the R&D lab then transfer that quality into a large commercial batch," says Rowe. "Yet we’re still making our soups one pot at a time, very similar to how you would make them at home."
Contact: Bob Skoog
Chester-Jensen Co., Inc.
(610) 876 6276