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Title:
AN IN-SHELL SCRAMBLED EGG, A METHOD FOR PREPARING SUCH AND AN IN-SHELL EGG SCRAMBLER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2014/016826
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An in- shell- scrambled-egg is disclosed. The scrambled egg is comprised of a natural poultry natural egg wherein the nested layers of the egg are scrambled and the shell of the egg is unbroken. In addition an in-shell egg scrambler is also disclosed and comprises of a rotation unit operatively connected to an egg retention portion designed adapted to rotate the egg retention portion such that an egg retained therein is scrambled without breaking the shell thereof. The egg rotation can be controlled by a controller and a sensor can recognize that the egg is scrambled.

Inventors:
GURNER, Assaf (suite #25, 5 Barazani Street, 307 Tel Aviv, 69212, IL)
ELDAR, Isaac (4 Shaked Street, 09 Even Yehuda, 09 Even Yehuda, 40503, IL)
Application Number:
IL2013/050599
Publication Date:
January 30, 2014
Filing Date:
July 16, 2013
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
EGGNOLOGY LTD (7 Fineshtein Street, 07 Tel Aviv, 07 Tel Aviv, 69123, IL)
International Classes:
A23L15/00; A23B5/00; A47J43/10; G01N33/08
Domestic Patent References:
WO2010074572A12010-07-01
Foreign References:
US20100112183A12010-05-06
US6103284A2000-08-15
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PASTEL LTD (39 Barkan Street, 00 Yuvalim, 00 Yuvalim, 20142, IL)
Download PDF:
Claims:
What Is Claimed Is

1. A method for scrambling an egg within said egg's shell, comprising of rotating said egg rapidly along the long axis of said egg.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein said rotation is performed by repeatedly accelerating the rotation from static to a predetermined velocity then stopping, for a predetermined number of cycles in the same direction or until said egg is scrambled.

3. The method of claim 2, wherein said rotations are a series of rotation pulses, wherein the rise time of each pulse is less than 100 milliseconds, each pulse duration is less than a second and wherein the whole process is less than a minute, in order to prevent the diffusion of air from the air egg cell into the egg's liquid.

4. The method of claim 3, further using a controller operative for activating rotation according to predetermined parameters of said pulses.

5. The method of claim 1 , further using a sensor for recognizing that said egg is scrambled.

6. The method of claim 1, further using an illumination source that is located near said egg's shell and using said sensor, that is located near the next side of said egg's shell, for sensing the change in transparency of said egg or the light color changes of the light, which is transmitted through said egg from said illumination source.

7. The method of claim 1, wherein the egg is sealed - by oil, wax or any edible sealing material - before the egg is scrambled or in short time after the egg is scrambled.

8. An in-shell-scrambled-egg comprised of a natural poultry natural egg wherein the nested layers of said egg are scrambled and the shell of said egg is unbroken.

9. The in-shell-scrambled-egg of claim 8, wherein said nested layers are scrambled homogeneously.

10. The in-shell-scrambled-egg of claim 8, wherein said scrambled egg is a hard-boiled egg.

1 1. The in-shell-scrambled-egg of claim 8, wherein said scrambled egg is sealed - by oil, wax or any edible sealing material - and wherein said sealing is done before the egg is scrambled or in short time after the egg is scrambled.

12. An in-shell egg scrambler, comprising a rotation unit operatively connected to an egg - placed perpendicularly along the long axis of said egg - retention portion designed to rotate said egg retention portion such that an egg retained therein is scrambled without breaking the shell thereof.

13. The in-shell egg scrambler of claim 12, further includes receptacle- directed to force on the egg in order to eliminate slippage between the egg and the receptacle.

14. The in-shell egg scrambler of claim 12, wherein said rotation unit spins said egg retention portion, with said egg retained therein, by repeatedly accelerating the rotation from static to a predetermined velocity then stopping, for a predetermined time in the same direction or until said retained egg is scrambled.

15. The in-shell egg scrambler of claim 14, wherein said rotations are a series of rotation pulses, wherein the rise time of each pulse is less than 100 milliseconds, each pulse duration is less than a second and wherein the whole process is less than a minute, in order to prevent the diffusion/penetration of air from the air egg cell into the egg's liquid.

16. The in-shell egg scrambler of claim 12, wherein said egg retention portion is a chuck with a plurality of adjustable jaws.

17. The in-shell egg scrambler of claim 15, further includes a controller operative for activating rotation according to predetermined parameters of said pulses.

18. The in-shell egg scrambler of claim 12, further includes a sensor for recognizing that said retained egg is scrambled.

19. The in-shell egg scrambler of claim 18, wherein said sensor is comprised of an illumination source located near said egg's shell and a light sensor located near the next side egg's shell, sensing the transparency change of said egg or the light color changes of the light, which is transmitted through said egg from said illumination source.

20. The in-shell egg scrambler of claim 18, further includes a controller operative for activating said rotation unit according to a predetermined routine and stops said rotation unit when said sensor recognizes that said egg is scrambled.

21. The in-shell egg scrambler of claim 12, wherein said rotation unit spins said egg retention portion at a rate which is between 1500-4500 rpm and rapidly stops said rotation unit.

22. The in-shell egg scrambler of claim 12, further includes a sensor for recognizing that the air of the egg's air cell was released from the cell and reports to said controller.

23. The in-shell egg scrambler of claim 22, wherein said sensor is comprised of a transmitter and receiver that receives - through the egg - said transmission, located near to the highest edge of said egg depending to said egg's position, in order to recognize receiving changes that occurs when the air of said air cell is released and floats up.

24. The in-shell egg scrambler of claim 22, wherein said sensor detects illumination that illuminated through said egg and compare said detection's parameters with an empiric information.

25. The in-shell egg scrambler of claim 22, wherein said sensor recognizes the existence of said air cell in its' original location.

The in-shell egg scrambler of claim 22, wherein said sensor uses any- sensing technology such IR, ultrasound, laser, imaging processing or any other sensing technology.

Description:
AN IN-SHELL SCRAMBLED EGG ;

A METHOD FOR PREPARING SUCH

AND AN IN-SHELL EGG SCRAMBLER

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to an in-shell-scrambled-egg, and a device and method for scrambling a poultry egg within its shell. In particular, it relates to devices and methods for scrambling a poultry egg within its shell without damaging the structural integrity of the shell and while maintaining the original shelf life, nutritional qualities as were before being scrambled, and maintaining the new appearance (uniform yellowish color) of the egg during its shelf life and cooking. In addition, it relates to an egg prepared with such a device or by such a method.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Poultry eggs are a dietary staple in many parts of the world. A whole egg in its natural state typically comprises several nested layers. The outer layer is a rigid shell, which surrounds an outer shell membrane and an inner membrane, and between these two membranes resides an air cell. The inner membrane surrounds thin albumen, which surrounds thick albumen, which surrounds a yolk. The yolk is separated from the thick albumen by a vitelline membrane, which holds the contents of the yolk. Other features, such as an air cell, two chalazae which anchor the yolk within the albumen, and a germinal disk, may be present. Typically, the shell is broken open, and the thin albumen, thick albumen, and the yolk, which hereinafter will be referred to collectively as the edible portions of the egg, are removed therefrom to be eaten, either raw or after cooking. Alternatively, the entire egg may be heated within the shell, for example, through means of baking, cooking or boiling, subsequent to which the cooked edible portions of the egg are removed and consumed.

One common technique for preparing a cooked egg involves scrambling the layers of the edible portion of the egg immediately after removal of the same from the shell, and scrambling the layers together, for example, with a whisk or a fork. This scrambling process is commonly referred to as scrambling. The egg is then cooked in a skillet. An egg thus prepared is commonly referred to as a "scrambled egg".

It would be useful if an egg could be provided scrambled within its intact shell, obviously while maintaining its shelf life, nutritional qualities, and stabilizing appearance. Such an egg is useful for individuals, especially children, who dislike either the white or the yolk. These individuals usually avoid the consumption of the full nutritional values of the whole egg. The egg could be also useful as a new form of food and for pastry preparation, large volume food preparation, food factories, and restaurants who try to avoid industrial egg liquids.

It would be useful, if consumers could either purchase such in-the- shell scrambled eggs off the shelf in retail stores, or have a scrambling device at home for in-the-shell scrambling of regular eggs. Prior art methods for scrambling eggs in-the-shell, often involve negative issues or drawbacks such as:

1. A dramatic reduction in the freshness of the scrambled egg within a short time after the scrambling process.

2. A reduction in the egg homogeneity/uniformity and bad color within a short time after the scrambling process. The appearance of such scrambled eggs is changed in some cases. When it is stored more than one day, the egg's liquid inside the egg looks dark and loses the uniformity of the mixture. When it is hard boiled, the egg appears to have two or more colored areas, wherein at least one is gray and bad looking. These eggs still retain the same nutritional values and shelf life, but their appearance dramatically degrades their value as a product.

3. There is a high probability that the scrambled egg will burst during boiling.

4. There is a high time sensitivity issue. For example, the egg can become gray in color and non-homogeneous. Such scrambled egg has the disadvantage of an unsightly appearance in some cases. The scrambled egg turns gray and non-uniform when it is hard boiled over time, for example, more than 5 minutes after boiling, or when hard boiled after more than one day after it was scrambled.

All of the above problems pose storage problems and may lower the commercial value of the egg.

The above problems occur due to the penetration of air and humidity into the egg liquid during the scrambling process. The present invention provides an egg that is already scrambled within its shell so that the albumin and the yolk are scrambled together. Obviously, without causing any harm to the shell or to the inner membrane, both of which remain unbroken, the air of the air cell is effectively prevented from diffusing or penetrating into the egg's liquid during the process. Such diffusion/penetration otherwise shortens the shelf-life of the egg from weeks to days and the egg may be caused to burst when cooked or boiled. The present invention also provides a method for avoiding any damage to the uniformity/homogeneity and color of the scrambled egg (cooked and uncooked) caused by outer air and humidity penetrating the shell and entering into the scrambled egg's liquid. The present invention also provides a method and a device for preparing such an egg, wherein the air does not diffuse into the egg's liquid, in a way that preserves the shelf life of the scrambled egg similar to a regular egg. The present invention also provides a method for real time process control and quality assurance so as to assure optimal process characteristics of each egg, such as, for example, size, temperature, age, weight and type.

The present invention enables the same delivery logistics and shelf life as those of regular eggs and therefore enable egg wholesalers to process and deliver scrambled eggs to be sold on retail shelves, thus generating commercial value to such scrambled eggs.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides an in-shell-scrambled-egg, a method for preparing such egg, and an in-shell egg scrambler. The in-shell egg scrambler operation is based on the method, in which there are several cycles, each cycle consisting of rapidly accelerating the egg (at about 10ms duration), rotating the same along its long axis for approximately 0.5 second, and then rapidly decelerating the egg (at about 10ms duration). Alternatively, the rotation process can be accomplished alternatively in both clockwise and counterclockwise directions either in short or long pulse du-rations of time. The egg's inside process is combined of two stages, breaking the vitelline membrane between the albumin and the yolk, and then scrambling the albumin and the yolk together.

Preferably, the egg should be rotated around its longitudinal axis, however it is also possible to obtain satisfactory results when spinning the egg in a more orbital rotation, for example, placing a plurality of eggs in a container and spinning the container. However, when spinning the egg in an orbital rotational mode, it is more likely to have the inner membrane to break, or having the air of the air cell diffuse into the scrambled liquid of the egg.

According to the principles of the present invention, an in-shell- scrambled-egg is provided from a natural poultry natural egg, wherein the nested layers of the egg are scrambled homogeneously, the shell of the egg is unbroken, and the air from the egg's air cell does not diffuse into the egg's scrambled liquid. The in-shell-scrambled-egg can also provided as a hard-boiled egg.

According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided an in-shell egg scrambler comprising a rotational unit operatively connected to an egg retention portion designed to rotate the egg retention portion such that an egg retained therein is scrambled without breaking the shell thereof.

According to a preferred embodiment of the in-shell egg scrambler, the scrambler includes a receptacle-directed force on the egg in order to prevent slippage between the egg and the receptacle and/or to prevent egg breakage by the vibrations and other physical forces during the rotating procedure. Preferably, a soft material of any type, for example, foam, silicon, or the like, is used to prevent the egg from breaking.

The rotating unit spins the egg retention portion, with the egg retained therein, by repeatedly accelerating the rotation, around the egg's longitudinal axis, from a static state to a predetermined velocity then stopping, for a predetermined time or until the retained egg is scrambled.

According to another preferred embodiment of the in-shell egg scrambler, the same is provided wherein the rotations are a series of rotational pulses, wherein the rise time of each pulse is preferably less than 100 milliseconds, each pulse duration is less than a second, and wherein the whole process is less than one minute.

According to another preferred embodiment of the in-shell egg scrambler, the scrambler egg retention portion comprises a chuck with a plurality of adjustable jaws.

According to another preferred embodiment of the in-shell egg scrambler, the scrambler further includes a controller operative for activating the rotational unit according to predetermined time, maximum velocity, and directional parameters.

According to another preferred embodiment of the in-shell egg scrambler, there is further provided a braking system for generating an immediate stop to the rotations during the process.

According to yet another preferred embodiment of the in-shell egg scrambler, the scrambler further includes a sensor for recognizing that the retained egg has been scrambled.

According to another preferred embodiment of the in-shell egg scrambler, the scrambler is provided with a sensor wherein the sensor is comprised of an illumination source located near the egg's shell and a light sensor is located near the opposite side of the egg's shell, thereby sensing any transparency change of the egg or color changes of the light, which is transmitted through the egg from the illumination source.

According to another preferred embodiment of the in-shell egg scrambler, the scrambler further includes a controller for activating the rotational unit according to a predetermined routine and stops the rotational unit when the sensor recognizes that the egg has been scrambled.

According to yet another preferred embodiment of the in-shell egg scrambler, the scrambler is provided with a rotational unit wherein the rotational unit spins the egg retention portion at a rate between 1500-4000 rpm and rapidly stops the rotation unit. According to another aspect of the present invention, a method for scrambling an egg within its shell is provided, comprising the steps of rotating the egg rapidly around the egg's longitudinal axis.

The method for scrambling an egg within its shell also includes the rotation of the same by repeatedly accelerating the rotation from a static state to a predetermined velocity, then stopping, for predetermined times or until the egg is scrambled. The rotations can be a series of rotational pulses, wherein the rise time of each pulse is preferably less than 100 milliseconds, each pulse duration is less than a second, and wherein the whole process is accomplished in less than one minute.

The method for scrambling an egg within its shell also includes the use of a controller for attaining rotation according to a predetermined time, maximum velocity, and direction. Moreover, a sensor can be used for recognizing that the egg has been scrambled.

The method for scrambling an egg within its shell also includes the usage of an illumination source that is located near the egg's shell and using a sensor, that is located near the opposite side of the egg's shell, for sensing the change in transparency of the egg or color changes of the light, which is transmitted through the egg from the illumination source.

In order to avoid appearance changes, and for maintaining the scrambled egg in its original appearance, the scrambled egg is sealed, before scrambling, or at a short time thereafter, preferably by using oil, wax or any other edible sealing material. According to another aspect of the present invention, the in-shell egg scrambler is provided with a sensor for recognizing that the air of the egg's air cell has been released from the cell and reports to the controller.

According to a preferred embodiment of the in-shell egg scrambler, the scrambler is provided with a sensor comprising a transmitter and a receiver that receives - through the egg - the transmission, located both near the highest edge of the egg, depending to the egg's position, in order to recognize changes that occur when the air of the air cell has been released and floats up.

According to another preferred embodiment of the in-shell egg scrambler, the scrambler is provided with a sensor that detects illumination that illuminates the egg and compares the detected parameters with empirical information that was collected from a plurality of tests.

According to another preferred embodiment, the in-shell egg scrambler is provided with a sensor that recognizes the existence of the air cell in its original location.

According to yet another preferred embodiment, the in-shell egg scrambler is provided with a sensor that uses any sensing technology such as IR, ultrasound, laser, imaging processing, or any other sensing technology. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Various other features and attendant advantages of the present invention will be more fully appreciated from the following detailed description when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings in which like reference characters designate like or corresponding parts throughout the several views, and wherein:

Figure 1 is a schematic cross- sectional view of a typical poultry egg;

Figures 2A and 2B are, according to one example, open and closed positions, respectively, of an in-shell scrambler constructed in accordance with the principles and teachings of the present invention;

Figure 3 is an in-shell-egg-scrambler with a controller and a sensor; and

Figure 4 illustrates the sensor for recognizing that the air of the egg's air cell has been released from the cell.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE ILLUSTRATED EMBODIMENTS

Poultry eggs are a dietary staple in many parts of the world. As illustrated in Figure 1, a whole egg 10 in its natural state typically comprises several nested layers. The outer layer is a rigid shell 12 which surrounds an outer shell membrane 14 and an inner membrane 14a, which, in turn surrounds a thin albumen 16 and a thick albumen 18, which, again, in turn, surrounds a yolk 20, although in rare cases more than one yolk, or none at all, may be present within an egg. The yolk 20 is separated from the thick albumen 18 by a vitelline membrane 19, which holds the contents of the yolk. An air cell 22 is trapped between the outer shell membrane 14 and inner membrane 14a. Other features, such as two chalazae 24 which anchor the yolk 20 within the albumen, and a germinal disk 26 may also be present.

Typically, the shell 12 is broken open, and the thin albumen 16, thick albumen 18, and yolk 20, are removed to be eaten, either raw or after cooking. Alternatively, the entire egg may be heated within the shell, for example, through baking or boiling, subsequent to which the cooked edible portions of the egg are removed and consumed.

As illustrated within Figure 2A, there is provided an in-shell-egg- scrambler, which is generally indicated at 30. The scrambler 30 is illustrated with an egg 10 contained therein, and comprises a base portion 32 and an egg retention portion 34, and is designed to have a success-rate of in-shell scrambled eggs which approaches 100%.

The base portion 32 comprises a rigid housing 36 which contains therein a rotational unit 38 which is activated by an external control mechanism 40, such as a switch or a dial. The rotational unit 38 is operationally connected to the egg retention portion 34, for example, by means of an axle or shaft 42.

The rotational unit 38 comprises a motor which is designed to rotate the egg retention portion 34, while containing an egg, at a rate which is between 1500-4000 rpm, and to come to a rest state (that is, 0 rpm) very rap-idly. Therefore, the rotational unit 38 further comprises a braking mechanism (not illustrated) to rapidly stop the rotation, and a clutch mechanism (not illustrated) to disengage the motor from the axle during braking. It may further be adapted to reach this speed rapidly. In addition, it may be adapted to carry out a "rapid start/stop cycle", that is, to alternate between a rotation at this rate (that is, 1500-4000 rpm) and being disposed at a resting state very rapidly, such as several times per second. In order for the rate of rotation of the egg retention portion 34 to match that of the motor, the connection or coupling between the two must be very strong, that is, minimal or no slippage should be allowed between the motor and the axle 42 on one hand, and between the axle and the egg retention portion on the other hand. The rotation may be performed without vibrating the egg-

The egg retention portion 34 comprises a receptacle 46 adapted to firmly receive therein an egg 10, and a cover, which is generally indicated at 48.

The receptacle 46 is constructed such that the egg 10 rotates therewith with minimal or no slippage (that is, such that the angular velocity of the egg matches that of the receptacle at all times). This may be due to its physical construction, or due to the material or materials used on the inside thereof. For example, a viscoelastic material or a deflatable/inflatable sac (such as to adjust for the sizes of different eggs) may be used for this purpose, either covering the entire inside surface, or the portion thereof likely to come in contact with an egg retained therein, as indicated by the area indicated at 50. The cover 48 comprises an outer portion 52 and an inner egg restraint 54. The outer portion 52 is adapted to engage the receptacle 46 and thereby keep the cover removable affixed thereto, especially during use of the scrambler 30. For example, it may be adapted to attach (for example, by a pressure fit) an upper rim 46a of the receptacle 46, for example by having a viscoelastic inside, or it may comprise threading, so that it may engage a correspondingly threaded receptacle (not shown) by screwing.

The inner egg restraint 54 may be, for example, a viscoelastic diaphragm which yields to a portion of the egg 10 which projects beyond the upper end 46a of the receptacle 46. When the cover 48 is engaged with the receptacle 46, as illustrated in Figure 2B, it provides a receptacle- directed force on the egg 10. This helps reduce and/or eliminate slippage between the egg and the receptacle. In addition, it prevents the egg from vibrating due to any eccentricity in its revolution, which may otherwise lead to the shattering of the shell during use of the scrambler.

Figure 3 illustrates a cross section of another embodiment of the scrambler, according to the present invention, in which the egg retention portion comprises a chuck with a plurality of adjustable jaws. The scrambler includes a controller and a sensor with a light source.

In this illustrated embodiment, the egg retention component 46 is a chuck with several adjustable jaws 50a capable of being adjusted to hold any size egg 10 therewithin or therebetween. Moreover, this embodiment has a controller 55 that controls the rotating unit 38. The controller 55 can be programmed to rotate the retention unit 46 according to direction, velocity, and/or duration, and/or to stop the retention unit 46 when the sensor 57 recognizes that the egg 10 has been scrambled. The sensor 57 recognizes the fact that the egg 10 is scrambled according to light from a light source 56 that is transmitted through the egg 10. When the egg 10 is scrambled, its transparency is changed and the color of the transmitted light is changed.

It will be appreciated that the egg scrambler 10, as illustrated in Figures 2A, 2B and 3, is but one non-limiting example of a single-egg scrambler. In practice, other embodiments of the scrambler are possible without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.

After the egg has been scrambled, its appearance, when illuminated from behind with a bright, for example, halogen lamp, is different from that of a non-scrambled egg. While non-scrambled eggs may have a substantially orange or yellow-like appearance when illuminated, a scrambled egg will appear darker, and have a red-like color when so illuminated. This characteristic may be used as a basis for designing a quality control system, for example in a multiple-egg scrambler installation. The eggs, after scrambling (that is, after the process described above has been carried out), are passed through a quality control system with an illumination source on one side of the egg, and a sensor on the other side of the egg, so as to detect the light from the illumination source as transmitted through the egg. The sensor, and/or any associated software/hardware, determines whether or not, and to what extent, the egg has been scrambled, based upon the color of the light which passes through the egg, and/or based upon the opacity of the egg.

While typically chicken eggs are consumed by people, the egg- scrambler, according to any of the disclosed embodiments, may be adapted to retain and scramble any other variety of poultry eggs.

Figure 4 illustrates an example of a sensor for recognizing that the air of the egg's air cell has been released from the cell. This sensor can comprise a transmitter and receiver, for IR, or other types of sensors such as an ultra sound sensor, to determine the density, or a combination of an illumination source and a camera, or any other type of sensor, that constantly receives the transmitter's transmission, located upon the egg's side nearest to the highest edge (depending to its position), in order to recognize changes that occur if the air of the air cell is released and rises, wherein these changes can be reported to the controller such that unacceptable scrambled eggs can be eliminated.