|Authors: ||F. October, O.J. Caleb, B.K. Ndimba|
|Keywords: ||agro-processing, food security, pip loss, postharvest, quality and safety, storage life|
Given the limited availability and short shelf-life of minimally processed fruit, canning offers the potential to maintain quality, safety and extend storage life of this product along the supply chain.
This agro-processing option enables consumers to meet their fruit nutritional requirements and provides a cost effective means toward meeting food security needs of low-income households throughout the year.
Therefore, it is important to evaluate the variability of different fruit cultivars to gain more knowledge about the potential for processing and canning.
Thus, this study investigated the potential of 35 selected apricot fruit cultivars for canning; and evaluated the impact of canning on the visual quality attributes of selected cultivars.
The fruits were obtained at full maturity, inspected and sorted (for uniformity). The freshness characteristics based on the total soluble solids (TSS, %), pH, and percentage pip loss (%) were evaluated prior to processing/canning and thereafter stored at ambient temperature (± 20°C) until the sensory evaluations (± 24 weeks). The visual quality attributes of each cultivar were evaluated by carefully selected panellists and scored based on general appearance, colour, taste, and texture using a ten point scale (0 - Poor; 5 - Average; 10 - Excellent). A total of 29 cultivars were rejected and only 6 cultivars were acceptable for canning based on the freshness characteristics.
The cultivar type had the most significant (p<0.05) impact on the visual quality attributes and overall acceptance of the final selection.
In addition, in cases where similar cultivars were obtained from the same origin but harvested on different dates, vast differences in the final scores were observed.
This study showed that a careful selection process is required to manage the quality of canned apricots along the value chain in order to avoid market rejection and postharvest losses.
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