Title:
Food product, cooking apparatus, and storing device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The storing device comprises a segment of a mesh material and an end for securing the mesh material. The secured mesh material is suitable for storing various items. The food product comprises a cooking apparatus and a foodstuff. The cooking apparatus comprises a steam permeable component for steam cooking a foodstuff. The cooking apparatus may further comprise a bag and/or a packet for steaming the foodstuff. The cooking apparatus allows concurrent steaming of the steam permeable component and the packet and/or the bag for steaming the foodstuff to substantial simultaneous steaming completion.



Inventors:
France, David W. (Omaha, NE, US)
Kurz, Sharla (Omaha, NE, US)
Roesler, Natalie (Wrightstown, WI, US)
Baker, Steven R. (Omaha, NE, US)
Miskovsky, Anna (Omaha, NE, US)
Application Number:
11/903188
Publication Date:
03/20/2008
Filing Date:
09/19/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
383/42, 426/113, 426/114
International Classes:
B65D30/06; A23L7/10; A23L13/00; A23L19/00; B65D33/16; B65D81/34; B65D85/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20080025651Bag with closeable access zoneJanuary, 2008Feist et al.
20050123221Sand bag structureJune, 2005Wang
20060138794Dispenser for Bag HandlesJune, 2006Burr
20020121448Curling iron mittSeptember, 2002Richardson
20090268992Closable Watertight CaseOctober, 2009Brouwer
20040045860Packages of stacked, individually wrapped, flat disposable utensils, and methods of forming such packagesMarch, 2004Edgerly et al.
20100003887Bath time toy bagJanuary, 2010Greene
20060233467Sets of pre-padded bags and methods of making sameOctober, 2006Mize Jr.
20090026098SCENT BAGJanuary, 2009Tierney
20080253696POUCH ARRANGEMENT FOR DISTRIBUTING MATERIAL AND METHODSOctober, 2008Haas et al.
20080063324POUCH OPENING FEATUREMarch, 2008Bernard et al.



Foreign References:
JPH10291572A1998-11-04
FR2730908A11996-08-30
JPH1042800A1998-02-17
DE3801122A11989-07-27
DE8031412U11981-03-12
JPH039010A1991-01-16
WO2004045970A12004-06-03
Other References:
"Remember Banquet Boiling Bags" August 26, 2005 http://www.inthe00s.com/archive/inthe80s/smf/1125096784.shtml
Primary Examiner:
THAKUR, VIREN A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Advent, LLP (Omaha, NE, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A storing device, comprising: a segment of a mesh material; and an end for securing the segment of the mesh material, wherein the segment of the mesh material is suitable for being filled with items without releasing the items.

2. The storing device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the items comprise at least one of a foodstuff or a processed food item.

3. The storing device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the segment of mesh material comprises about 50% high density polyethylene, about 30% polypropylene copolymer, and about 20% ethylene vinyl acetate.

4. A cooking apparatus, comprising: a segment of a mesh material; and an end for securing the segment of the mesh material, wherein the segment of the mesh material is suitable for being filled with a foodstuff and secured at the end to form a steam permeable component suitable for steaming the foodstuff without releasing the foodstuff.

5. The cooking apparatus as claimed in claim 4, wherein the end is at least one of ultrasonic sealing, heat sealing, induction sealing, ties, or binders.

6. The cooking apparatus as claimed in claim 4, wherein the mesh material is formed of about 50% high density polyethylene, about 30% polypropylene copolymer, and about 20% ethylene vinyl acetate.

7. The cooking apparatus as claimed in claim 4, wherein the mesh material comprises openings sized from 1 millimeters to 10 millimeters in diameter.

8. The cooking apparatus as claimed in claim 4, wherein the mesh material is at least one of extruded, woven, perforated, or molded.

9. The cooking apparatus as claimed in claim 4, wherein the mesh material has a tensile strength of 7 kg.

10. The cooking apparatus as claimed in claim 4, wherein the mesh material has a mesh thickness of about 50 millimeters to about 400 millimeters.

11. The cooking apparatus as claimed in claim 4, wherein the mesh material withstands freezer temperatures, refrigeration temperatures, ambient temperatures, and temperatures reached during steaming.

12. A cooking apparatus, comprising: a steam permeable component, wherein the steam permeable component is suitable for containing a foodstuff and steaming the foodstuff in a steamer without releasing the foodstuff.

13. The cooking apparatus as claimed in claim 12, wherein the steam permeable component is rigid.

14. The cooking apparatus as claimed in claim 12, wherein the steam permeable component is made of a mesh material, the mesh material comprising about 50% high density polyethylene, about 30% polypropylene copolymer, and about 20% ethylene vinyl acetate.

15. The cooking apparatus as claimed in claim 12, wherein the steam permeable component is made of a mesh material, the mesh material comprising openings sized from 1 millimeter to 10 millimeters in diameter.

16. The cooking apparatus as claimed in claim 12, further comprising a bag.

17. The cooking apparatus as claimed in claim 12, further comprising a bag, the bag comprising openings about 0.25 millimeters to about 2 millimeters in size and spaced about 1 millimeters to about 15 millimeters apart.

18. The cooking apparatus as claimed in claim 12, further comprising a bag, the bag comprising at least one of 110 openings with about 1000 micron diameters per square inch or 130 openings with about 700 micron diameters per square inch.

19. The cooking apparatus as claimed in claim 12, further comprising a bag, the bag comprising openings about 0.25 millimeters to about 2 millimeters in size and spaced about 1 millimeters to about 15 millimeters apart; and a packet.

20. The cooking apparatus as claimed in claim 12, further comprising a packet.

21. A cooking apparatus, comprising: a steam permeable component; a bag, the bag comprising openings about 0.25 millimeters to about 2 millimeters in size and spaced about 1 millimeters to about 15 millimeters apart; and a packet, wherein the steam permeable component, the bag, and the packet are suitable for providing concurrent steaming of various foodstuff to substantial simultaneous steaming completion without intermixing.

22. The cooking apparatus as claimed in claim 21, wherein the steam permeable component is rigid.

23. The cooking apparatus as claimed in claim 21, wherein the cooking apparatus withstands freezer temperatures, refrigeration temperatures, ambient temperatures, and temperatures reached during steaming.

24. The cooking apparatus as claimed in claim 21, wherein the openings of the bag are formed by a technique selected from a group of a laser technique, a high energy plasma technique, a flame technique, a gamma technology technique, a vacuum technique, and a hot needle technique.

25. The cooking apparatus as claimed in claim 21, wherein the packet is dissolvable.

26. A food product, comprising: a foodstuff, the foodstuff comprising at least one of protein, vegetables, fruit, or starch; and a cooking apparatus for containing the foodstuff, the cooking apparatus comprising, a segment of a mesh material, and an end for securing the segment of the mesh material, wherein the segment of the mesh material is filled with the foodstuff and secured at the end to form a steam permeable component suitable for steaming the foodstuff without releasing the foodstuff.

27. The food product as claimed in claim 26, wherein the end is secured utilizing at least one of ultrasonic sealing, heat sealing, induction sealing, ties, or binders.

28. The food product as claimed in claim 26, wherein the mesh material withstands freezer temperatures, refrigeration temperatures, ambient temperatures, and temperatures reached during steaming.

29. The food product as claimed in claim 26, wherein the steaming is at least one of heating with steam, defrosting with steam, or cooking with steam.

30. A food product, comprising: a foodstuff, the foodstuff comprising at least one of protein, vegetables, fruit, or starch; and a cooking apparatus for containing the foodstuff, the cooking apparatus comprising a steam permeable component, the steam permeable component suitable for containing the foodstuff and steaming the foodstuff in a steamer without releasing the foodstuff.

31. The food product as claimed in claim 30, wherein the steam permeable component is rigid.

32. The food product as claimed in claim 30, wherein the mesh material comprises about 50% high density polyethylene, about 30% polypropylene copolymer, and about 20% ethylene vinyl acetate.

33. The food product as claimed in claim 30, further comprising a second foodstuff, the second foodstuff comprising a starch, wherein the cooking apparatus further comprises a bag for containing the second foodstuff, the bag is suitable for steaming the second foodstuff in a steamer without releasing the second foodstuff.

34. The food product as claimed in claim 30, further comprising a seasoning; and a seasoning container, the seasoning container for containing the seasoning.

35. The food product as claimed in claim 30, further comprising a dry sauce; and a dry sauce container, the dry sauce container suitable for containing the dry sauce.

36. The food product as claimed in claim 30, further comprising a second foodstuff, the second foodstuff comprising a starch, the starch comprising rice, wherein the cooking apparatus further comprises a bag for containing the second foodstuff, the bag is suitable for steaming the second foodstuff in a steamer without releasing the second foodstuff, and wherein the bag comprises at least one of 110 openings with about 1000 micron diameters per square inch or 130 openings with about 700 micron diameters per square inch.

37. The food product as claimed in claim 30, further comprising a second foodstuff, the second foodstuff comprising a starch, the starch selected from a group of potatoes, bread, pasta, and rice, wherein the cooking apparatus further comprises a bag for containing the second foodstuff, the bag is suitable for steaming the second foodstuff in a steamer without releasing the second foodstuff; and a third foodstuff, the third foodstuff comprising a sauce, wherein the cooking apparatus further comprises a packet for containing a third foodstuff, the packet suitable for steaming the third foodstuff in a steamer without releasing the third foodstuff.

38. The food product as claimed in claim 30, further comprising a second foodstuff, the second foodstuff comprising a sauce, wherein the cooking apparatus further comprises a packet for containing the second foodstuff, the packet suitable for steaming the second foodstuff in a steamer without releasing the second foodstuff.

39. A food product, comprising: a foodstuff, the foodstuff comprising at least one of protein, vegetables, fruit, or starch, the starch comprising at least one of potatoes or pasta; and a cooking apparatus for containing the foodstuff, the cooking apparatus comprising a steam permeable component, the steam permeable component comprising a polymer blend and ethylene vinyl acetate, wherein the steam permeable component withstands freezer temperatures, refrigeration temperatures, ambient temperatures, and temperatures reached during steaming, and wherein the steam permeable component is suitable for steaming the foodstuff in a steamer without releasing the foodstuff.

40. The food product as claimed in claim 39, wherein the steam permeable component is a mesh material, the mesh material is formed of about 50% high density polyethylene, about 30% polypropylene copolymer, and about 20% ethylene vinyl acetate.

41. The food product as claimed in claim 39, further comprising a second foodstuff, the second foodstuff comprising a starch, wherein the cooking apparatus further comprises a bag for containing the second foodstuff, the bag comprises openings about 0.25 millimeters to about 2 millimeters in size and spaced about 1 millimeters to about 15 millimeters apart, and wherein the bag is suitable for steaming the second foodstuff in a steamer without releasing the second foodstuff.

42. The food product as claimed in claim 39, further comprising a second foodstuff, the second foodstuff comprising a starch, wherein the cooking apparatus further comprises a bag for containing the second foodstuff, the bag is suitable for steaming the second foodstuff in a steamer without releasing the second foodstuff; and a third foodstuff, the third foodstuff comprising a sauce, wherein the cooking apparatus further comprises a packet for containing the third foodstuff, the packet suitable for steaming the third foodstuff in a steamer without releasing the third foodstuff, and wherein the first foodstuff, the second foodstuff, and the third foodstuff are at least one of precooked or sized to provide substantial simultaneous steaming completion of the first foodstuff, the second foodstuff, and the third foodstuff.

43. The food product as claimed in claim 39, further comprising a second foodstuff, the second foodstuff comprising a sauce, wherein the cooking apparatus further comprises a packet for containing the second foodstuff, the packet suitable for steaming the second foodstuff in a steamer without releasing the second foodstuff.

44. A food product, comprising: a foodstuff comprising at least one of a protein, vegetable, or fruit, the protein comprising at least one of beef, pork, poultry, fish, beans, seafood, or tofu; a sauce; a starch, the starch comprising at Least one of rice, pasta, potatoes, or bread; and a cooking apparatus, the cooking apparatus comprising a steam permeable component for containing the foodstuff, the steam permeable component comprising about 50% high density polyethylene, about 30% polypropylene copolymer, and about 20% ethylene vinyl acetate, a bag for containing the starch, the bag comprising openings about 0.25 millimeters to about 2 millimeters in size and spaced about 1 millimeters to about 15 millimeters apart, and a packet for containing the sauce, wherein the steam permeable component, the bag, and the packet are suitable for steaming the foodstuff, the starch, and the sauce to provide substantial simultaneous steaming completion of the foodstuff.

45. The food product as claimed in claim 44, wherein the packet is dissolvable.

46. The food product as claimed in claim 44, wherein a viscosity of the sauce is suitable for pouring from the packet after the steaming, the sauce comprises 5% to 35% of the food product, and the sauce has a water content of 70% to 95% by weight.

47. A food product, comprising: a first foodstuff; a composition, the composition comprising the first foodstuff; a steam permeable component for containing the composition, the steam permeable component is suitable for steaming the first foodstuff in the composition; a second foodstuff, the second foodstuff comprising a sauce; and a packet for containing the second foodstuff, the packet suitable for steaming the second foodstuff, wherein the steam permeable component and the packet provide concurrent steaming of the first foodstuff and the second foodstuff to substantial simultaneous steaming completion without intermixing.

48. The food product as claimed in claim 47, wherein the composition is selected from a group of sweet and sour chicken composition, asian beef composition, garlic shrimp composition, home-style turkey composition, herb based chicken composition, chicken alfredo composition, basil pesto salmon composition, and beef tips portobello composition.

49. The food product as claimed in claim 47, further comprising a third foodstuff, the third foodstuff comprising a starch; and a bag for containing the third foodstuff, the bag is suitable for steaming the third foodstuff, wherein the bag provides concurrent steaming of the third foodstuff with the first foodstuff and the second foodstuff to substantial simultaneous steaming completion without intermixing.

50. The food product as claimed in claim 47, further comprising a third foodstuff, the third foodstuff comprising a starch, the starch comprising rice; and a bag for containing the third foodstuff, the bag is suitable for steaming the third foodstuff, wherein the bag provides concurrent steaming of the third foodstuff with the first foodstuff and the second foodstuff to substantial simultaneous steaming completion without intermixing.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS CROSS-REFERENCE

The present application claims the benefit under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/845,786, filed Sep. 19, 2006 and U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/918,610, filed Mar. 16, 2007. Said U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/845,786 and said U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/918,610 are herein incorporated by reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The disclosure generally relates to the field of mesh bags, and more particularly to a food product comprising an apparatus for storing and cooking foodstuff, such as a steam cooking apparatus.

BACKGROUND

Numerous food products are available to consumers. Food products consumers may choose from include frozen, refrigerated, and shelf stable items. The food products may include whole meals, main courses, sides, and desserts.

SUMMARY

The disclosure is directed to a storing device, a food product, and a cooking apparatus.

The storing device comprises a segment of a mesh material; and an end for securing the segment of the mesh material. The segment of the mesh material is suitable for being filled with items without releasing the items.

The food product comprises a cooking apparatus and a foodstuff. The cooking apparatus comprises a steam permeable component for steam cooking a foodstuff. The cooking apparatus may further comprise a bag and/or a packet for steaming the foodstuff. The cooking apparatus allows concurrent steaming of the steam permeable component and the packet and/or the bag for steaming the foodstuff to substantial simultaneous completion.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The numerous advantages of the disclosure may be better understood by those skilled in the art by reference to the accompanying figures in which:

FIG. 1 is an isometric view illustrating a food product;

FIG. 2 is an isometric view illustrating a food product, wherein the cooking apparatus of the food product comprises a steam permeable component, a packet, and a bag;

FIGS. 3A, 3B, and 3C are isometric views illustrating cooking apparatuses;

FIG. 4 is an isometric view illustrating how foodstuff cooked in a cooking apparatus may be assembled;

FIG. 5 is an isometric view illustrating how foodstuff cooked in a cooking apparatus may be assembled;

FIG. 6 is an isometric view illustrating a food product, wherein the cooking apparatus of the food product comprises a steam permeable component and a packet;

FIG. 7 is an isometric view illustrating of a food product, wherein the cooking apparatus of the food product comprises a rigid steam permeable component with openings;

FIG. 8 is an isometric view illustrating a food product, wherein the cooking apparatus of the food product comprises a rigid steam permeable component with compartments;

FIG. 9 is an isometric view illustrating a food product, wherein the cooking apparatus of the food product comprises a rigid steam permeable component with compartments;

FIG. 10A is an exploded view illustrating a configuration of a food product, a metal steaming basket, a pot, a lid, and a heating device for steam cooking the food product;

FIG. 10B is a cross-sectional side view illustrating a food product placed on a metal steaming basket in a pot for steam cooking the food product; and

FIG. 11 is an exploded view illustrating a configuration of a food product, a metal steaming basket, a pot, a lid, and a heating device for steam cooking the food product, wherein the food product comprises a seasoning container with seasonings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring generally to FIGS. 1, 2, 4, and 6 through 9 a food product 100 is shown. The food product 100 comprises a cooking apparatus 101 and a foodstuff 102. The food product 100 may further comprise an outer container 114, a seasoning container 138 filled with seasoning, and a dry sauce container filled with a dry sauce. The cooking apparatus 101 may steam cook various foodstuff 102 to substantial simultaneous completion quickly, while preventing overcooking.

Steaming may be accomplished using a number of devices including a stovetop cooking appliance, metal steaming basket 110 placed in a pot 112 (as illustrated in FIGS. 10 and 11), electric steamer, infrared microwave oven, microwave steamer apparatus, commercial steamer, steam cabinet, or the like, generally referred to as steamers. Similarly, the term steaming refers generally to heating, defrosting, or cooking with steam.

The cooking apparatus 101 may comprise a steam permeable component 103, as illustrated in FIG. 3A. The cooking apparatus 101 may further comprise a bag 122 and/or a packet 118, as illustrated in FIGS. 3B and 3C. The cooking apparatus may comprise a plurality of steam permeable containers 103. The cooking apparatus may comprise a steam permeable component and a plurality of bags and/or a plurality of packets. The cooking apparatus may comprise a plurality of steam permeable components and a plurality of bags and/or a plurality of packets.

The steam permeable component 103, the bag 122, and the packet 118 may each individually be referred to as a “component” or collectively as “components”. The components of the cooking apparatus 101 may be sized to accommodate the amount of foodstuff 102 desired and to fit into the steamer.

The steam permeable component 103 may comprise a segment of mesh material 104, a first end 106, and a second end 108 for sealing, as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 3A. A foodstuff 102 may be packed into the segment of mesh material 104 and the first end 106 and/or a second end 108 may be sealed to form the steam permeable component 103 for containing the foodstuff 102. The foodstuff 102 may be placed in the mesh material under refrigeration and/or freezer temperatures. The seated steam permeable component 103 may be placed in a steamer to steam the foodstuff 102 without releasing the foodstuff 102 into the steamer. Once steaming is complete, the steam permeable component 103 may be cut open to serve the steamed foodstuff 102.

The width and diameter of the steam permeable component 103 may vary based on the flexibility of the mesh material 104 and how much foodstuff 102 is in the steam permeable component 103. The steam permeable component 103 may be made of a mesh material that is sized from 10 to 60 cm in length to accommodate 6 to 96 ounces of foodstuff 102. The steam permeable component 103 may be continuously connected circumferentially and secured at the first end 106 and/or the second end 108 using ultra sonic sealing, heat sealing, induction sealing, ties, binders, or another method as desired. The structure of the steam permeable component 103 may be flexible and the steam permeable component 103 may conform to the steamer or the outer container 114. The steam permeable component 103 may be rigid and may not generally conform to the steamer or outer container 114.

The mesh material 104 may facilitate the flow of steam into the steam permeable component 103 to permeate the foodstuff 102, as well as allowing for accumulated moisture (or condensed steam) to drain out from the steam permeable component 103 instead of pooling inside the steam permeable component 103 while steaming. The mesh material 104 may thus ensure that the foodstuff 102 is steamed, which produces a consistent, high quality result. By facilitating drainage of condensed steam from the steam permeable component 103, the mesh material 104 may also ensure that the foodstuff 102 is not boiled, which may cause a loss of nutrients and color in the foodstuff 102.

The mesh material 104 may be a small aperture lightweight plastic netting including materials, such as polyethylene, polypropylene, polyester, nylon, low density polyethylene, medium density polyethylene, high density polyethylene, the like, or blends thereof. The mesh material 104 may also comprise ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) to improve the binding of the mesh material 104 when melted. The mesh material 104 in the steam permeable component 103 may comprise about 50% high density polyethylene, about 30% polypropylene copolymer, and about 20% EVA blend. The mesh material 104 may have at least 7 kg of tensile strength. The mesh material 104 may have a strand count of at least 200, such as a strand count of 208.

The mesh material 104 may be extruded, woven, perforated, or molded to include openings sized between 1 millimeters and 10 millimeters. The mesh material 104 may be extruded in a tube configuration. The tube configuration of mesh material 104 may be stretched to about 420 millimeters wide. The mesh thickness may range from 50 micrometers to 400 micrometers. The opening size and mesh thickness may be varied as the sizing of the foodstuff 102 varies. The openings may generally be sized to be smaller than the foodstuff 102 so the foodstuff 102 may not escape into the steamer during steaming.

The mesh material 104 may be in close contact with the foodstuff 102, and may be thus certified to meet FDA regulations for food contact. The mesh material 104 may also be inert to the foodstuff 102, and odors or colors from the mesh material 104 may not affect the foodstuff 102.

The melting point and softening point of the mesh material 104 may exceed the maximum temperature reached in the steamer during the steaming process so the mesh material 104 may withstand heating without deforming or melting to the foodstuff 102. The mesh material may also be designed to withstand freezing, refrigeration, and/or ambient temperatures.

A segment of the mesh material may also be utilized in a storing device. The storing device may also comprise an end for securing the segment of the mesh material. The storing device may be utilized to store items, such as foodstuff and/or processed food items. Processed food items may comprise candy, snack foods, such as chips, dip, breakfast bars, and crackers, and other suitable food item that have undergone some type of cooking, mixing, and/or chemical change without departing from the scope and intent of the disclosure.

The steam permeable component 103 may be rigid, such as a container 115, as illustrated in FIG. 7. The container 115 may have openings 116 that allow steam to enter the container 115. The openings 116 may include steam access ports, pores, perforations, apertures, holes, slits, outlets, slots, vents, gaps, or the like. The container 115 may be rigid or deformable in structure and may take the shape of a pocket, carton, bag, sack, tube, tray, or the like. The openings 116 may be combined with the container 115 to allow steaming of the foodstuff 102.

The container 115 may be in the shape of a cylinder or tube as illustrated in FIGS. 8 and 9. The container 115 may have a compartment 136. The compartment 136 may be steam permeable. The compartment 136 may be non-steam permeable. The non-steam permeable compartment 136 may be utilized for heating a foodstuff 102 with steam.

The steam permeable component 103 may comprise various types of foodstuff 102, such as protein, vegetables, fruit, and/or starch. The steam permeable component 103 may comprise a combination of at least two vegetables, protein, or starch.

The packet 118 may be formed of a polymer and/or a polymer blend material and may contain a foodstuff 102, such as a sauce 120. The packet 118 may have moderate O2 and moisture vapor transmission rate (MTVR) barrier properties (e.g., an O2 barrier property of less than 5.0 CC per 100 square inches per 24 hours at 73° F. with 0% room humidity and a MTVR barrier property of less than 1.0 gm H2O per 100 square inches per 24 hours at 100° F. with 90% room humidity). The packet 118 may have a seal strength of 30 PSI at 300° F. The packet 118 may comprise an oriented polyethylene terephthalate (OPET) layer, a boilable adhesive layer, and a nylon-linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) layer. The packet 118 may utilize a CURLAM® (Grade 8180-K) protective packaging film produced by the Bemis Company at 2200 Badger Avenue, P.O. Box 2968, Oshkosh, Wis. 54903-2968. The packet 118 may be sealed to prevent the release of the foodstuff 102, such as a sauce 120, during steaming and may include a pre-cut notch or other suitable opening mechanism to make the packet 118 easy to open.

The packet 118 may be contained within the bag 122 and/or the steam permeable component 103. The packet 118 may be dissolvable (e.g., edible material). The dissolvable packet 118 may release a foodstuff 102, such as a sauce 120 into a bag 122 with no openings 130 that contains a foodstuff 102, such as starch 132 like pasta. The dissolvable packet may contain a sauce 120 that has been frozen into cubes, pieces, chips, and/or chunks. However, the foodstuff 102, such as a sauce 120, may be separate from the other foodstuff 102 until assembled for consumption.

The sizing of the packet 118 depends on coordination with the food product 100 so that the steam permeable component 103, packet 118, and bag 122 are all capable of concurrent steaming. The dimensions of the packet 118 may range from 2 cm to 20 cm in width and 2 cm to 20 cm in length.

The bag 122 may contain a foodstuff 102, such as a starch 123, and may be steamed concurrently in the steamer with the packet 118 and/or the steam permeable component 103. The bag 122 may be formed of a polymer and/or a polymer blend. The bag 122 may have openings 130. The bag 122 may comprise a 100 gauge Mylar with OL22 sealant coating made by Dupont Ag & Nutrition at 7000 NW 62nd Avenue, Johnston, Iowa 50131.

The openings 130 may facilitate the flow of steam into the bag 122 to steam the foodstuff 102, such as a starch 123. Similarly, the sizing of the bag 122 depends on coordination with the food product 100 so that the steam permeable component 103, packet 118, and bag 122 are all capable of concurrent steaming. The bag 122 may be sized from 10 to 20 cm in width and 10 to 20 cm in length, and may hold between 100 and 300 g of foodstuff 102, such as a starch 123. The openings 130 may be sized from 0.25 millimeters to 2 millimeters in diameter and spaced 1 to 15 millimeters apart. The diameter of the openings 130 depends on the size of the foodstuff 102, such as a starch 123, and will be small enough to retain the foodstuff 102 during cooking. The bag 122 may comprise 110 openings with about 1000 micron diameters per square inch. The bag 122 may comprise 330 openings with about 700 micron diameters per square inch. The openings 130 of the bag 122 may be made by a laser technique, a high energy plasma technique, a flame technique, a gamma technology technique, a vacuum technique, or a hot needle technique.

The bag 122 may contain a starch, such as a pre-cooked white rice that has been individually quick frozen. The rice may be pre-cooked to coordinate a uniform cooking requirement with the foodstuff 102. The bag 122 may contain about 6 oz to about 10 oz of rice.

The bag 122 may contain a starch 123 that does not require the moisture provided by openings 130. The bag 122 may not contain openings 130 and may be sealed during steaming. The bag 122 may contain a starch, such as pre-cooked mashed potatoes, pre-cooked pasta mixed with sauce, or the like. However, when the food product 100 comprises rice and sauce 120, the rice and sauce 120 may be stored and cooked in separate components. The bag 122 may comprise about 10 oz to about 14 oz of potatoes and/or pasta. The bag 122 may be contained in the steam permeable component 103.

The cooking apparatus 101 may not include a bag 122, as illustrated in FIG. 6. The food product 100 may not contain a bag 122 even if the foodstuff 102 of the food product 100 comprises a starch. The starch 123 may be contained in the steam permeable component 103 with and/or without other types of foodstuff 102.

The foodstuff 102 is contained within the cooking apparatus 101 of the food product 100 and may include at least one of a protein, a vegetable, a fruit, a starch 123, or a sauce 120. This list is not restrictive. It is appreciated that other types of foodstuff may be utilized without departing from the scope and intent of the disclosure. The protein may comprise beef, poultry, fish, seafood, tofu, and/or any other protein as desired. The vegetables may comprise carrots, onions, green beans, corn, asparagus, peas, peppers, zucchini, potatoes, water chestnuts, mushrooms, and/or any other vegetable as desired. The fruits may comprise apples, avocado, bananas, strawberries, cherries, lemons, limes, mangoes, oranges, peaches, papaya, pineapple, plums, raisins, cantaloupe, and/or any other fruit as desired. The sauce 120 may include a range of flavors and ingredients for tasteful coordination with the theme of the food product 100. Sauce types may comprise alfredo, gravy, garlic, sweet and sour, basil pesto, asian, sesame, and/or other suitable sauces as desired. The starch 123 may include rice, pasta, bread, potatoes, and/or other edible starch as desired. It is contemplated that certain foodstuff 102 may be applicable to more than one of the listed types of foodstuff 102, such as potatoes, which may be classified as a vegetable and/or a starch 123.

The sauce and/or the starch may comprise additives (e.g., saffron and butter), seasonings/flavorings (e.g., garlic, salt, pepper, and/or mint), and/or particulates of foodstuff. The particulates of foodstuff may comprise small pieces of fruits, vegetables, and/or meat. The particulates may be dried and/or precooked.

The sauce 120 may have a water content ranging from 70% to 95% by weight so that the sauce 120 may be easily poured out of the packet 118 after steaming. Similarly, the viscosity of the sauce 120 may be selected to allow easy pouring from the packet 118 without excessive sticking. The sauce 120 may have a boiling point that at least substantially exceeds 100 degrees Celsius. This may prevent a boiling of the sauce 120 within the packet 118 and a build up of pressure during steaming. The sauce 120 may be 5% to 50% of the entire food product 100, or 75 to 425 milliliters. The sauce 120 may be frozen, shelf stable, and/or refrigerated during storage and shipping and may be heated and/or defrosted in the steamer to be ready for consumption at the same time as the other foodstuff 102. Moreover, the sauce 120 may be cooked, pre-cooked, or uncooked during storage and shipping and may be ready for consumption at the same time as the other foodstuff 102 after steaming.

The sauce 120 may be made by the consumer. The food product 100 may comprise a dehydrated or dry mix sauce (e.g., a dry sauce). The dry sauce may be contained in a dry sauce container, which is not steamed. The dry sauce 120 may be added to the water utilized for steaming after steaming to form the sauce. After steaming, the water utilized for steaming may add extra flavor to the sauce retained from contact with the foodstuff 102 during steaming. Moreover, the food product 100 may not contain a sauce 120.

The food product may comprise seasonings contained in a seasoning container 138, as illustrated in FIG. 11. The seasonings in the seasoning container 138 may be added to the foodstuff 102 as desired before and/or after steaming. The seasoning container 139 may be made of a polymer, polymer blend, paper, foil, paper laminate, foil laminate, cheesecloth type material, or any other suitable material for storing the seasoning without departing from the scope and intent of the disclosure. The seasonings in the seasoning container 138 may be added to the water utilized to steam the foodstuff 102 prior to steaming to add flavor and/or aroma to the foodstuff 102 during steaming. The seasonings may be added while in the seasoning container 138 or may be removed from the seasoning container 138 and added to the water.

The foodstuff 102 may be seasoned before packaging in the cooking apparatus 101 as desired, and may include grill marks. The foodstuff 102 may be individually quick frozen to preserve the nutritional value, color, and texture of the foodstuff 102. Individual quick freezing may also ensure the foodstuff 102 moves freely within the cooking apparatus 101 and does not form a single frozen block or an aggregate of clumps. The foodstuff 102 may be able to shift freely within the cooking apparatus 101. This may further help the steaming process by allowing free access of steam to the foodstuff 102. However, the foodstuff 102 may be suitable for storage at refrigeration temperatures or ambient temperatures.

The foodstuff 102 may be sized or cut into small pieces and/or may be whole in form. The foodstuff 102 may be raw, pre-cooked, and/or cooked. Sizing, pre-cooking, and cooking may provide a shorter steam time.

To cook the foodstuff, the cooking apparatus 101 comprising a steam permeable component 103, a packet 118, and a starch bag 122 may be removed from an outer container 114 and placed in a steamer, as illustrated in FIG. 2.

The foodstuff 102, such as a protein and a vegetable separate from a sauce 120 and a starch 123, may be steamed concurrently without intermixing and may finish heating/cooking at substantially the same time. The components may be removed from the steamer and cut open for assembly on a first plate 126 and a second plate 128, as illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5. The foodstuff 102 may be arranged and proportioned according to the preferences of the consumer. The components may be staggered and placed in the steamer at different intervals to provide additional steam time for certain foodstuff 102 and not for others.

The food product 100 may be prepared by utilizing a steamer, which may include a steaming basket 110 placed in a pot 112, as illustrated in FIGS. 10 and 11. A pot may comprise a Dutch oven, a roasting pan, a saucepan, a saucepot, a sauteuse pan, a stock pot, or any other suitable pot or pan for utilizing a steaming basket 110 and/or for steaming the foodstuff. The steaming basket 110 may be metal and may be in a petal configuration (as illustrated in FIGS. 10 and 11) or in a colander pot type configuration. A pot 112 may be filled with water to a level that is sufficient to not boil dry and not high enough to touch the food suspended above the water in the steaming basket 110. The pot 112 may be filled with about one cup to about two cups of water.

The pot 112 may be placed on a heating device, such as a stove 132 and the packet 118 containing a sauce may be placed in the metal steaming basket 110 and a lid 134 may be placed on the pot 112, as illustrated in FIG. 10. The components may be positioned in the metal steaming basket 110 to minimize contact with the sides of the pot 112. The pot 112 may be heated until the water boils. The steam permeable component 103 and the bag 122 may then be placed in the metal steaming basket 110 and the lid 134 may be placed on the pot 112. The foodstuff 102 inside the steam permeable component 103 and inside the bag may be loosened up before being placed in the pot 112.

The steam generated by the boiling water may steam the foodstuff 102 in the steam permeable component 103 and the bag 122 and may heat the foodstuff, such as a sauce 120 in the packet 118 with steam. The lid 134 may ensure the food product 100 is cooked in a moisture rich environment, and is generally not removed during the specified cooking time. The cooking time may be from about five minutes to about one hour from the time the steam permeable component and the bag 122 are placed on the metal steaming basket 110. The components may be flipped or turned over half way through the specified cooking time. The components may be flipped after six minutes and then steamed for an additional six minutes. The components may be placed in the steamer at different intervals to provide additional or reduced steaming time for each foodstuff 102. The consumer may also look over the foodstuff 102 in the components and determine that additional cooking time may be necessary and cook the foodstuff 102 accordingly.

After the specified cooking time expires, the steam permeable component, the packet 118, and the starch bag 122 may be removed from the metal steaming basket 110.

Once the foodstuff 102, including the sauce 120 and the starch 123 have been steamed, they may be “plated” or assembled, as illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5. The steam permeable component 103 may be cut open and the foodstuff 102 may be poured on to a first plate 126. The packet 118 and bag 122 may be cut open or torn open as desired and may also be poured on to the first plate 126. The arrangement of the protein, vegetables, starch 123, and sauce 120 may be customized by the consumer, and varying amounts may be placed on each plate. The remaining foodstuff 102 may be assembled and plated on a second plate 128. Consumers may prefer to saturate their plate with sauce 120, while other consumers may choose to omit the sauce 120 altogether. The assembly and amounts of the foodstuff 102 may be dictated by the consumer's choice.

The food product 100 may comprise the foodstuff 102 and sizing and preparation of the foodstuff 102 as listed in the compositions described in Table 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 below.

TABLE 1
Sweet and Sour Chicken Composition
IngredientSize RangePre-Cooked
chicken tenderloin0.5-2 cm thickYes
medallion
sugar snap pea2-6 cm long, 5-10 mm wideNo
carrot, julienne0.5-1.5 cm × 0.5-1.5 cm × 3-4 cmNo
onion1-4 cm chunksNo
red pepper strip0.5-1 cm wide, 1-4 cm longNo

TABLE 2
Asian Beef Composition
IngredientSize RangePre-Cooked
seasoned beef strip3-8 cm long, 1-4 cm wideYes
sugar snap pea2-6 cm long, 5-10 mm wideNo
carrot, julienne0.5-1.5 cm × 0.5-1.5 cm × 3-4 cmNo
water chestnut, sliced1-5 cm diameter, 1-10 mm thickNo
broccoli floret1-3 cm piecesNo

TABLE 3
Garlic Shrimp Composition
IngredientSize RangePre-Cooked
raw shrimp1-5 cm diameterNo
gemelli pasta, braided3-4 cm long, 0.5-1 cm wideYes
asparagus tips2-8 cm longNo
carrot, julienne0.5-1.5 cm × 0.5-1.5 cm × 3-4 cmNo

TABLE 4
Home-Style Turkey Composition
IngredientSize RangePre-Cooked
turkey medallion0.5-2 cm thickYes
red roasted potato1-4 cm chunksYes
carrot, julienne0.5-1.5 cm × 0.5-1.5 cm × 3-4 cmNo
onion1-4 cm chunksNo
green bean1-4 cm lengthNo
frozen cut corn3-10 mm chunksNo

TABLE 5
Herb Baked Chicken Composition
IngredientSize RangePre-Cooked
chicken tenderloin0.5-2 cm thickYes
medallion
red roasted potato, tri-cut1-4 cm chunksYes
green bean2-4 cm longNo
yellow zucchini, sliced0.5-3 cm piecesNo
quarter
onion, diced1-4 cm piecesNo
red pepper, diced0.5-2 cm piecesNo

TABLE 6
Chicken Alfredo Composition
IngredientSize RangePre-Cooked
chicken tenderloin0.5-2 cm thickYes
medallion
bow tie pasta2-4 cm × 1-20 mm × 1-3 mmYes
broccoli, cut1-3 cm piecesNo
carrot, bias sliced1-3 cm long, 0.5-2 cm wideNo

TABLE 7
Basil Pesto Salmon Composition
IngredientSize RangePre-Cooked
salmon, bias cut7-10 cm × 3-5 cm × 0.5-2 cmYes
rotini pasta1-3 cm piecesYes
asparagus tip2-8 cm longNo
carrot, julienne0.5-1.5 cm × 0.5-1.5 cm × 3-4 cmNo
yellow zucchini, sliced0.5-3 cm piecesNo
quarter
red pepper strip0.5-1 cm wide, 1-4 cm longNo

TABLE 8
Beef Tips Portobello Composition
IngredientSize RangePre-Cooked
seasoned beef strip3-5 cm × 2-3 cm × 1-2 cmYes
green bean2-4 cm longNo
whole baby carrot2-5 cm long, 0.5-2 cm diameterNo
penne pasta1-3 cm piecesYes

The food product 100 may provide snacks, appetizers, sides, meals desserts and/or other desired food servings/portions. The food product 100 may be vegetarian (as illustrated in FIG. 9), vegan, kosher, and/or designed to accommodate any other desired consumption preference. The food product may be designed for an individual, a family, or the food service industry.

The food product 100 may separate some or all of the various types of foodstuff 102 allowing consumers to plate, assemble, and customize their meal according to their preferences and taste. The presentation of the meal may be more attractive and appealing when consumers can choose how to place each food ingredient and how much of each food ingredient they would like to put on their plate. By cooking the various types of foodstuff 102 in a single steamer, but in separate containers to avoid intermixing, consumers are able to assemble their foodstuff as they desire.

The food product 100 allows cooking of all the foodstuff 102 in a steamer. Steam cooking the foodstuff 102 produces a highly consistent result, because steaming prevents the overcooking of different types of foodstuff 102. Foodstuff 102 may also retain moisture during steaming, so the foodstuff does not dry out.

The food product 100 may consider nutrition and health, such as towering fat and caloric content. The food product 100 may not require the utilization of oil because the foodstuff 102 is cooked with steam. However, the food product 100 may be designed to provide the best flavor possible regardless of nutrition and health.

It is believed that the disclosure and many of its attendant advantages will be understood by the foregoing description, and it will be apparent that various changes may be made in the form, construction and arrangement of the components thereof without departing from the scope and spirit of the disclosure or without sacrificing all of its material advantages. The form herein before described being merely an explanatory, it is the intention of the following claims to encompass and include such changes.