Minimizing texture loss of frozen strawberries: effect of infusion with pectinmethylesterase and calcium combined with different freezing conditions and effect of subsequent storage/thawing conditions
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Vacuum infusion (VI), freezing, frozen storage and thawing conditions were optimized in order to minimize the texture loss of frozen strawberries. Slow freezing caused severe loss in textural quality of the strawberries. This quality loss could not be prevented by the application of VI prior to slow freezing, or by the application of rapid, cryogenic or high-pressure shift freezing conditions on non-infused fruits. A remarkable texture improvement was noticed when infusion of pectinmethylesterase (PME) and calcium was combined with rapid or cryogenic freezing. The highly beneficial effect of PME/Ca-infusion followed by HPSF on the hardness retention of frozen strawberries was ascribed to the combined effect of the infused PME (53% reduction in degree of esterification (DE) of the strawberry pectin) and the high degree of supercooling during HPSF. During frozen storage, textural quality of PME/Ca-infused high-pressure frozen strawberries was maintained at temperatures below −8 °C, whereas the texture of PME/Ca-infused strawberries frozen under cryogenic freezing conditions was only preserved at temperatures below −18 °C. Thawing at room temperature seemed to be an appropriate method to thaw strawberries. Fast thawing by high-pressure induced thawing (HPIT) did not prevent textural quality loss of frozenstrawberries.
KeywordsTexture Pectinmethylesterase-calcium infusion Pectin High-pressure shift freezing Cryogenic freezing Frozen storage High-pressure induced thawing
This work was financially supported by European Project SAFE ICE (QLK1-2002-02230) from the Quality of Life and Management Resources Program.
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