Choosing the right commercial equipment for vegetable / fruit puree

Discussion in 'Cooking Equipment Reviews' started by Okalian, Feb 16, 2018.

  1. Okalian

    Okalian

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Exp:
    2
    Hello,

    We are working on a small-scale catering service that produces apple and fruit sauces. The idea is to steam the fruits then blend them and place them in a 300 litre tank that keeps them warm while stirring. I'm not experienced enough to know the best / most efficient setup, thus I'm looking for your advice.
    Just to give you a small background, equipment here that are locally assembled are mostly of low-quality chinese parts, and their service life isn't reliable. Thus I'm only considering 2nd-hand reputable brands (ones I've seen here are Hobart and Rational) for budgetary limitations. They are subject to availability of course at the time of purchase, so not everything are readily up for sale.

    Steaming fruits / vegetables: The 2 main pieces of equipment I am considering is either a commercial countertop steamer, or a combi oven. I looked yesterday at a hobart 10-grid oven. But will this actually do the job? I'm yet to find any commercial steamers for sale, and I understand that the combi oven will be more expensive. But it's all i can find for now. Seems like the combi oven will fit more applications, but specifically for steaming fruits and vegetables, will it do the trick?

    Pureeing steamed vegetables / fruits: Say my goal is to fill the 300 liter mixing tank with pureed vegetables / fruits. Would it make sense to put everything in a big 20 liter blender, blend, then place in the tank (and repeat 14 more times to fill the 300 liter tank), or would placing the sauteed fruits in the 300-liter tank and use a commercial stick blender give the same results? I understand that the smaller the batches, the better the consistency. But i think if the stick blender is run long enough, it will suffice. Thoughts?

    Thanks so much for your time and for reading this far :)
     
  2. 21TonyK

    21TonyK

    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    34
    Exp:
    Chef, ex-restaurateur
    Hi

    I also have an interest in producing purees albeit in smaller quantities than you. I produce about 2kg at a time normally but have made larger 20kg batches in a pan using a stick blender as you mention.

    I found using a stick it was hard work to ensure a consistent product. My purees are for clinical use so have to be a specific consistency which I can achieve in a food processor. With a stick it was a lot of effort and hard work.

    If I was scaling up producing I would look at using a Robot Coupe Blixer, these come in capacities from 3 to 60 litres and are designed for making purees.

    A combi oven will definitely steam fruit and veg, that's how I do mine. But it is very expensive to run if electric. If you do not need the function of a combi oven then any atmospheric gas steamer will do the same job for a fraction of the cost.

    Not sure how common they are in your area but readily available wherever you see a Nandos chicken shop!

    Happy yo share ideas and experiences if it helps, my purees are cooked in moulds then frozen.
     
    Okalian likes this.
  3. Pat Pat

    Pat Pat

    Messages:
    475
    Likes Received:
    183
    Exp:
    Chef Emeritus
    You're better off with a commercial [rice] steamer than a combi oven in your case. Much more economical.

    It may be called a rice steamer, but it's used to steam everything in a restaurant.

    You don't really need to go for the brand name with this very simple piece of equipment.

    https://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/Neweek-commercial-electric-and-gas-rice_60406151593.html

    For the pureeing, go with a cutter/mixer. The brand that 21TonyK mentioned (Robot Coupe) is the best bet (although insanely expensive).

    https://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/High-Quality-vegetable-cutter-mixer-cutter_60538830244.html
     
    Okalian likes this.
  4. sgmchef

    sgmchef

    Messages:
    259
    Likes Received:
    109
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    Salaam Okalian,

    Equipment decisions are based on how often you need that piece of equipments functionality. The more you use it, the more important it is to have dependable equipment. (Ovens are very important to a baker!)

    I would base the equipment decisions on your needed production volume. How much product do you need to produce per day? How much of your business is producing purees, 5% or 95%? If your primary goal is the production of steamed fruit and veg purees, then I advise you to allocate appropriate assets to meet that goal.

    If you used a steam jacketed mixing/holding tank you could use the same boiler to provide steam for steaming the fruit and vegetables.

    Good luck and I hope you find the answers you seek!
     
    Okalian likes this.
  5. Okalian

    Okalian

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Exp:
    2
    Thanks everyone for your help!

    These are ultimately the perfect machines, but like Pat Pat said, they're insanely expensive! I can only imagine the customs duties i will have to pay to bring them into the country. So i am actually duplicating them with a custom manufacturer here, since it's my only resort. It will be worth investing in a good 4HP motor and 304 stainless steel structure/blades.

    On a long term basis, however, i seriously consider a Robot Coupe.

    True! My initial "trials" at home were exactly that. Using something like a rice cooker with a suspended mesh. And this is why I'm now considering this steam pot right here.
    [​IMG]

    Gets filled with steam, place a perforated inner pot inside with the desired vegetables/fruits to be steamed. Seems simpler and higher volume(a huge plus for me). I'm still looking into it prospectively and trying to find out if it's being used for this purpose by anyone.
    Salaam!
    100% of my products are puree/steamed veggies, so i fully understand the need for right equipment!

    The mixing tank i have isn't steam-operated. It's double-jacketed with coiled-water in the intermediate. Cheaper than a steam-operated one since it does not require a boiler, and does not need the extra pressure reinforcement.

    Suggestions are still welcome : )