Sterner, Mark H. (5553 Wentworth Drive, Riverside, CA, 92509, US)
|1.||A French fried potato substitute comprising legume paste of the species Vigna Unguiculata, formed in the elongated shape of traditional French fried potatoes.|
|2.||The French fried potato substitute of claim 1 that is deep fried.|
|3.||The French fried potato substitute of claim 1 that is baked.|
|4.||The French fried potato substitute of claim 1 that is frozen.|
|5.||The French fried potato substitute of claim 1 that is made from decorticated starting product.|
|6.||The French fried potato substitute of claim 1 wherein said paste is made from whole legumes.|
|7.||The French fried potato substitute of claim 1 wherein said legume paste has a moisture content of 45%65% w/w before cooking.|
|8.||The French fried potato substitute of claim 7 wherein said legume paste before cooking has a moisture content of about 58% w/w.|
|9.||The French fried potato substitute of claim 4 that is frozen in liquid nitrogen.|
|10.||The French fried potato substitute of claim 4 that is frozen in liquid CO2 or CO2 snow.|
|11.||The French fried potato substitute of claim 1 wherein said paste is a homogeneous blend of Vigna Unguiculata legumes and potatoes.|
|12.||The French fried potato substitute of claim 11 wherein said potatoes are decorticated and present in the range of 0.1%30% w/w in said paste.|
|13.||The French fried potato substitute of claim 1 formed using a 2dimensional die.|
|14.||The French fired potato substitute of claim 1 formed using a 3 dimensional die.|
|15.||The French fried potato substitute of claim 1 fried in a polyunsaturated oil.|
|16.||The French fried potato substitute of claim 1 having one or more seasonings that are mixed into said paste prior to cooking.|
|17.||The French fried potato substitute of claim 1 further comprising at least one seasoning.|
|18.||The French fried potato substitute of claim 16 wherein said at least one seasoning comprises salt.|
|19.||The French fried potato substitute of claim 4 wherein said decorticated legumes are decorticated using a dry decortication method.|
|20.||The French fried potato substitute of claim 1 wherein said Vigna Unguiculata is of the variety California Cream or a hybrid thereof.|
|21.||The French fried potato substitute of claim 1 that is substantially binder free.|
|22.||A method of manufacturing a French fried potato substitute comprising: forming a paste of Vigna Unguiculata in the shape of traditional French fried potatoes; optionally freezing said formed paste; and cooking said shaped paste.|
|23.||The method of claim 22 wherein said cooking is deep frying.|
|24.||The method of claim 22 wherein said cooking is baking.|
|25.||The method of claim 22 wherein said legume paste is made from decorticated legumes.|
|26.||The method of claim 22 wherein said legume paste is made from whole legumes.|
|27.||The method of claim 22 wherein said legume paste has a moisture content in the range of 45%65% w/w before cooking.|
|28.||The method of claim 22 wherein said legume paste before cooking has a moisture content of about 58% w/w.|
|29.||The method of claim 22 wherein said paste is frozen in liquid nitrogen following formation of said shapes.|
|30.||The method of claim 22 wherein said paste is frozen in liquid CO2 or CO2 snow following formation of said shapes.|
|31.||The method of claim 22 wherein said paste is a homogeneous blend of Vigna Unguiculata legumes and potatoes.|
|32.||The method of claim 22 wherein said potatoes are decorticated and present in said paste in the range 0.1%30% w/w.|
|33.||The method of claim 22 wherein said forming comprises the use of a 2 dimensional die.|
|34.||The method of claim 22 wherein said forming comprises the use of a 3 dimensional die.|
|35.||The method of claim 23 wherein said deep frying is done in a poly¬ unsaturated oil.|
|36.||The method of claim 22 further comprising mixing in one or more seasonings prior to or following cooking.|
|37.||The method of claim 36 wherein said one or more seasonings comprises salt.|
|38.||The method of claim 25 wherein said decorticated legumes are decorticated using a dry decortication method.|
|39.||The method of claim 22 wherein said Vigna Unguiculata is of the variety California Cream or a hybrid thereof.|
|40.||The method of claim 22 wherein said French fried potato substitute is substantially binderfree.|
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The field of the invention relates to the fast-food industry and more particularly to the production of fast- food French fried potatoes and French fried potato substitutes.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
French fried potatoes are enormously popular world-wide, yet hardly nutritious. They are made almost entirely of starch and fat and thus contribute to obesity and obesity-related diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Despite their lack of nutritional value, demand for them remains high, particularly from fast-food restaurant chains that cater to an increasingly fast-paced society.
Nutritional alternatives having relatively less carbohydrate and fat and relatively more protein are needed. Those alternatives, to be ideal, should mimic an original French fried potato in elongated shape and color, as well as texture and taste, for all of these factors contribute to consumer appeal. If the product could be economically manufactured and priced relative to traditional French fries, so much the better.
Cowpeas (Vigna Unguiculata) are currently being evaluated by the University of Georgia as deep fried Hush Puppy substitutes based on the traditional African product akara. They show promise in consumer taste tests but, to Applicant's knowledge, to date have not been configured into an elongated French fried potato-like shape and taste. Both features are important for commercial appeal and market penetration.
Another factor bearing on consumer market appeal is color. To optimize ability to become a French fried potato substitute, it is desirable that the product have a light color consistent with white potato starch and traditional French fries. However, most beans have dark or off-white color.
The following publications are herein incorporated by reference in their entireties. However, their listing here is not an admission that they are prior art, analogous art, or material to the present invention.
Food Product Design, pg. 92, A Side of ...Pea Puppies?, Weeks Publishing (September 2003); Basinger, Savannah Morning News on the WEB, Scientists develop "pea puppies," lower-fat hush puppies;
http://www.savannahnow.com/stories/111402/LOCHealthyHushP uppies.shtml (November 14, 2002);
Omahen, S., Akara pea pups are like high-protein hush puppies, http://georgiafaces.caes.uga.edu/pdf/1693.pdf (Oct 29, 2002);
Patterson et al., Physico-chemical properties and consumer acceptability of akara (fried paste) made from three cowpea cultivars, Food Res. Intern., pp. 1-6, Elsevier Publishing (2001);
Liu and McWatters, Effects of Storage, Soaking and Cooking Method on Cookability of Cowpeas, Research Note, Lebensm.-Wiss. u. Technol., 27, 98-99 (1994);
Liu et al., Mechanism of Pectin Changes during Soaking and Heating As Related to Hard-To-Cook Defect in Cowpeas, J. Agric. Food Chem., vol. 41, pp, 1476-80 (1993);
Liu et al, Mechanism ofHard-to Cook Defect in Cowpeas: Verification Via Microstructure Examination, Food Structure, Vol. 12, pp. 51-58 (1993);
Liu et al., Induced Hard-to-Cook State in Cowpeas by Freeze-Thawing and Calcium Chloride Soaking, Cereal Chem., vol. 70, no. 2, pp. 193-5 (1993);
McWatters et al., Physical and Sensory Characteristics of Akara (Fried Cowpea Paste) Made from Whole and Decorticated Cowpeas (Vigna unguiculata), Lebensm.-Wiss. u. Technol., 26, 157-161 (1993);
Liu et al., Hard-to-Cook Defect in Cowpeas: Storage Induced and Treatment-Induced Development, J. Food ScL, vol. 57, no. 5, pp. 1155-1160 (1992);
Liu et al., Protein Insolubilization and Thermal Destabilization during Storage As Related to Hard-to-Cook Defect in Cowpeas, J. Agric. Food Chem., vol. 40, pp, 2483- 2487 (1992);
Liu et al., Hard-to-cook state in cowpeas-iηfluence of pretreatment and cooking on electrolyte leakage solids-loss and water absorption, Int. J. Food Sci. Techn., 27, 683-690 (1992);
Liu et al., Development of Hard-to-Cook Defect in Cowpeas: Role of Pectin Methylesterase, J. Agri. Food Chem., 40, pp. 949-52 (1992); McWatters, K. H., Compositional, Physical, and Sensory Characteristics ofAkara Processed from Cowpea Paste and Nigerian Cowpea Flour, Cereal Chem., vol. 60, no. 5, pp. 333-336 (1983); http://www.ars-Rrin.gov/cgi-bin/duke/ethnobot.pl?ethnobot.ta xon=Vigna%20unguiculata; US Patents: 6,033,707, Chang and Hsieh, 03-07-2000 6,001,399, Kilibwa, 12-14-1999 5,384,139, Vasseneix, 01-24-1995 5,171,600, Young and Lodge, 12-15-1992 5,167,980, Herod and Moriarty, 12-01-1992 5,061,507, Aulik and Christensen, 10-21-1999 4,879126, Willard and Arnold, 11-07-1989 4,334,464, Shinriki, 06-15-1982 4,346,652, De Ruyter, 08-31-1992 4,246,293, Larson, 01-20-1981 4,125,635, De Ruyter, 11-14-1978 4,084,016, Kon and Dunlap, 04-11-1978 4,140,803, Panchuck and Anderson, 02-20-1979 3,886,299, Feldbrugge and Travers, 05-27-1975 3,849,582, Blagdon and Malzahn, 11-19-1974 3,814,823, Olsen, 06-04-1974 3,692,531, Guevara and Heusdens, 09-19-1972 3,493,386, Pyne, 02-03-1970 3,396,036, Liepa, 08-06-1968 3,259,503, Teck and Baldwin, 07-05-1966 3,021,224, Stagmeier, 02-13-1962. Foreign Patents and Publications:
CA1050816, Rompala and Seal, 03-20-1979
CNl 190539, Du and Wang, 08-19-1998 "
EP0313438, Aulik and Christensen, 04-26-1989
EP0096305, Miles, 12-21-1983
GB985809, Rogers Bros. Co., 03-10-1965
GB856705, Clausi and Mohlie, 12-21-1960
JP59051746, Itou and Yayama, 03-26-1984
KR9303094, Oh, 04-19-1993
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The invention features French fried potato substitutes and methods of producing the same. The preferred ingredient is legume paste from Vigna Unguiculata, otherwise known in the United States as "cowpea," "crowder pea," "blackeyed pea," and "southern pea," and internationally as "lubia," "niebe," "coupe" and "frijole." The invention features forming the paste into elongated products resembling traditional French fried potatoes. The paste is nutritious, comes in light colored varieties that are aesthetically pleasing, and the cooked product is palatably close to traditional French fried potatoes, especially upon salt and/or other ingredient addition. Significantly, Vigna Unguiculata paste is readily amendable to forming and retention of form prior to cooking, thereby obviating the need for additional binding agents, particularly when flash-frozen and packaged in mass to ship. In addition to higher protein content than potatoes, Vigna Unguiculata reputedly also has numerous ethnobotanical treatment uses: e.g., for adenopathy, dystentary, jaundice, liver, kidney, nausea, pneumonia, neuralgia, pleurisy, polyurea, as a diuretic, measles, smallpox and tumor treatment, which makes its selection for use in French fried potato substitutes particularly attractive.
By "French fried potato" is meant a fried elongated product made predominantly from potatoes. By "French fried potato substitute" is meant a product like French fried potatoes that is not made predominantly from potatoes. In some embodiments the product is binder-free or substantially so. By "substantially binder-free" is meant that binder, e.g., methylcellulose and/or like products as known in the art, comprise no more than 1% w/w of the product.
In some embodiments the product is deep fried in an animal oil, e.g., lard or butter. In other embodiments the product is deep fried in a plant or vegetable oil. Preferably the oil used is either polyunsaturated or non hydrogenated, as these terms are known in the art. Rice oil is most preferred among the plant-based oils, with other plant- based oils that can be used including, e.g., safflower, almond, soybean, corn, sunflower, peanut, cottonseed, sesame seed, olive, grape seed, canola, walnut, and vegetable shortening,
In other embodiments, the product is baked.
In some embodiments, the paste is made from decorticated, i.e., "skinned" legumes. In other embodiments, it is made from whole beans, i.e., those having skins. Light-colored varieties of Vigna Unguiculata, e.g., "California Cream" and hybrids thereof, are more suitable than dark-colored varieties in that the skins may be left on without sacrificing visual appeal. This translates to a manufacturing savings that can in turn be passed on to the consumer. Similarly, for methods employing cortication, although such may be accomplished using "wet" or "dry" methods, dry is preferred in that it is more energy efficient.
In some embodiments, the paste has a moisture content of 45%-65% w/w before cooking, more preferably 50%-60% w/w, and most-preferably about 58% w/w.
The substitutes can be flash frozen after forming, either prior to and/or after cooking. Two suitable methods include dipping in liquid nitrogen and the use of liquid CO2 or CO2 "snow," as these terms are understood in the food preservation arts.
In some embodiments, the substitutes also have a certain percentage of potatoes, e.g., 0.1%-50% w/w, and more preferably 5% to 30% w/w. These are preferably mixed in to homogeneity.
In some embodiments, the substitutes are formed by forcible passage across a 2- dimensional die having a square, rectangular, round, or elliptical shape, with the paste substantially retaining such form in cross section following passage across the die. In another embodiment, the die is a 3-dimensional die whose internal cavity is shaped like a French fry. The cavity can be conveniently filled and then ejected of its contents, with the contents substantially retaining the form of the cavity.
In some embodiments, one or more spices or seasonings is mixed into the paste prior to forming and cooking. Alternatively or conjunctively, these may be added after cooking. Illustrative seasonings and spices that can be used include salt, bacon bits, cajun spice, pepper (black or red; ground preferred), chili powder, chipoteles, parsley, curry powder, chopped, powdered or granulated onion, oregano, coriander leaf (cilantro), jalapeno pepper (powder or ground), rosemary, sage, savory, sesame, spearment, turmeric, tarragon, thyme, anise, annotto, basil, mace, marjoram, bay leaves, cumin, dill seed, dill weed, fennel, fenugreek, garlic, ginger, caraway seed, cardamom, , chives, cinnamon, mint, mustard, nutmeg, paprika, parsley, and vanilla, .
In another aspect, the invention features methods of preparing the French fried potato substitutes comprising the steps of forming a paste of Vigna Unguiculata in the shape of traditional French fried potatoes, optionally freezing said formed paste; and cooking said shaped paste. Other steps essentially track one or more of the product aspect embodiments.
In other aspects, the invention features onion-ring shaped products and methods of making the same that track any of the preceding aspects and embodiments, but with additional allowance, in some additional embodiments, for flavoring that is more akin to traditional onion rings, e.g., by the addition of onion-salt and/or other suitable ingredient(s).
Any of the foregoing embodiments can be combined where appropriate. Other embodiments are inherent in the drawings, description of the preferred embodiments and claims to follow.
It is anticipated that other legume varieties besides Vigna Unguiculata, e.g., other types of beans, will also afford pastes of more or less equivalent nutritional value that can be formed into French fry substitutes.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES
Figure 1 is a flow chart showing one sequence of steps that can be employed in one embodiment of the invention. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
Raw Vigna Unguiculata beans are split or coarsely ground, air classified or otherwise sized, soaked in water, wet ground, mixed with ingredients, and extruded into French-fry shape using a suitable die, e.g., a Belshaw type die/former The extruded shapes may then be frozen until ready for cooking.
Numerous subspecies of Vigna Unguiculata are known, available and can be used in conjunction with the invention, e.g., the following from Agricultural Research Services (ARS): baoulensis, burundiensis, cylindrical, dekindtiana, letouzeyi, mensensis, pubescens, sesquipedalis, tenuis, and unguiculata . See http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi- bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?41647.
With reference to Figure 1 , the techniques of splitting/grinding, air classification, decortication, soaking, wet grinding and ingredient addition are all well known to those of ordinary skill in the art. For example, splitting/grinding is accomplished using, e.g., an abrasive splitter to reduce size, e.g., wholes into halves, and preferably no smaller than quarter sizes. Air classification is done using, e.g., an air leg or gravity table. Decortication may be accomplished using either a wet or dry technique, e.g., using a twin paddle mixer and/or water cyclone run at speeds adequate to break the product. The broken product is then saturated with water, excess water preferably drained, and the resulting saturated split beans reduced in size even further using a wet grinding technique, e.g., one employing a colloidal mill, and preferably for such time and under such conditions as to create a smooth paste. Ingredients, e.g., spices and seasonings and other items such as corn or masa can also be added at any step, up to a final weight or volume of 20% or more.
Extrusion is demonstrated using a simple perforated plastic bag. The bean paste from above is placed within a perforated plastic bag and pressure is applied externally to the bag resulting in "strands" of paste in the approximate shape of French fries. Automated production is envisioned, e.g., using a specialized extrusion device in combination with an appropriate 2- or 3-dimensional die, e.g., a Belshaw-type die/former.
The shapes may be immediately immersed in hot oil, e.g., dropped directly from the bag, or else flash frozen in liquid nitrogen or CO2 before or after cooking.
Frying is preferably done at approximately 350 -400° F for up to a minute or more. Baking can be done for up to 10 minutes or more at about 450° F. As the persons of skill in the art will appreciate, these specific parameters will vary depending on the specific existing conditions, e.g., in the instance of frying the amount of starting product used per volume of oil, and whether or not the oil is "circulated" to maintain temperature throughout the frying step. The preferred oil to be used is rice oil (e.g., from California Rice Oil Co., 138-H Hamilton Drive, Novato, CA 94949) because it is nonhydrogenated and therefore trans fat free. It is also very stable in terms of shelf life, bland in flavor and withstands high frying temperatures.
The temperature of the oil when frying is greatly dependent on the size , shape and moisture of the formed product. The current parameters being employed with best results include a cooking temperature of approximately 35O0F for under 100 seconds for a fried shape of 3/8 x 3/8 x 3.5 inches.
If seasonings or spices are used, these may be added to any moisture range pre¬ cooked product, with 5-20% preferred. Alternatively or conjunctively, seasonings or spices can be enrobed post-cook. * * *
It will be readily apparent to one skilled in the art that varying substitutions and modifications may be made to the invention without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. Thus, such additional embodiments are within the scope of the invention and the following claims.
All documents cited are indicative of the levels of skill in the art to which the invention pertains. The disclosure of each is incorporated by reference herein to the same extent as if each had been incorporated by reference in its entirety individually, although none is admitted to be prior art, analogous art, or material art.
The invention illustratively described herein suitably may be practiced in the absence of any element or elements, limitation or limitations which is not specifically disclosed herein. Thus, for example, in each claim any of the terms "comprising", "consisting essentially of and "consisting of may be replaced with either of the other two terms, to achieve their respective meanings under the patent laws. .
The terms and expressions which have been employed are used as terms of description and not of limitation, and there is no intention in the use of such terms and expressions of excluding any equivalents of the features shown and described, or portions thereof.