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Blancher with multiple cooling zones

Image Number 4 for United States Patent #5752431.

A blancher having multiple cooling zones formed by a tank having multiple compartments for receiving a heating liquid in one compartment and a coolant in at least two other compartments. In a preferred embodiment, the tank has a sidewall with an end wall at its inlet end, an end wall at its discharge end, and a pair of dividing baffles which separate the tank into compartments. Received within the tank is a food transport mechanism that preferably is a helical auger having a portion in each compartment to urge food product toward the discharge end. Preferably, a liquid hot enough to cook or blanch food product is received in the inlet end compartment and a liquid cold enough to cool the food product is received in the discharge end compartment. To precool the food product after it has been heated, a precooling liquid preferably is received in a compartment between the inlet end and outlet end compartments. Preferably, water at a temperature of between Fahrenheit and Fahrenheit is received in the precooling compartment and water at a temperature of between Fahrenheit and Fahrenheit is received in the cooling compartment. Preferably, each of the cooling compartments can be constructed having cooling water inlets and outlets that produce a coolant flow opposite the direction of food product flow creating a counterflow heat exchanging arrangement. Preferably, at least some of the coolant supplied to the precooling compartment is well or ground water for saving energy and money.

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