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Effect of blanching and drying methods on the nutritional and sensory quality of leafy vegetables
O. O N A Y E M I & G.I.O. B A D I F U
Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Ife, lle - - Ife, Nigeria
Received 9 April 1986; in revised form 20 April 1987
Key words: drying, blanching, ascorbic acid, carotene, vegetables Abstract. The nutrient retention and sensory quality factors of vegetables blanched by two methods and solar-dried or dried in the cabinet dryer were evaluated. The type and conditions of the blanching treatment prior to drying affect the retention of ascorbic acid, carotene, and ash in the dried vegetables. The sun-dried vegetables had inferior cotour, texture and acepetibility compared to the vegetables dried in the cabinet dryer. There were significant differencesin the rehydration and drying ratio of the dried vegetables.The implications of the blanching and drying processes for an effectivepreservation technique are discussed. Introduction
Leafy vegetables are important in the diet as they provide variety and are a good source of ascorbic acid, carotene and fibre. Among the several methods of food preservation described in the literature to assure their availability throughout the year, solar-drying technique has received much emphasis in the tropics [2, 4, 11, 13, 15, 20]. For vegetables in particular dehydration processes affect, to a varying degree, the quality attributes of colour, texture, and nutrient retention. Such variations in nutrient retention and other quality attributes may be due to the type of vegetables, differences in the stage of maturity, harvesting method, cultural practices, type of pretreatment and the drying method . Washing, trimming and the method of blanching have been reported to affect the yield and nutrient retention of the vegetables as well as the subsequent processing method such as drying or freezing [8, 10, 17]. Although there is concensus that blanching prior to drying or freezing (especially) improves nutrient retention and sensory attributes of vegetables , it is not adopted in the preservation of vegetables in Nigeria [2, 11]. The merits of steam versus water blanch and chemical treatments of vegetables on improving their sensory attributes have been reported [1, 6, 7, 19]. However, there is limited information comparing the quality of leafy vegetables blanched, solar-dried and dried in a cabinet dryer. This study has
drained and packed for drying tests. A comparative evaluation of the effectiveness of the blanching treatment for dried or frozen vegetables as preservation techniques is also described. The blanched samples were cooled.1 °C.25) crude fiber and ash. Sodium metabisulfite (250 ppm) was added to the solution. . ammonium bicarbonate 2% with 0. Vegetables in lot I were blanched in water at 98°C -t.292 been undertaken to investigate the effect of different blanching and drying methods on the nutritional and sensory quality of three leafy vegetables.3-137. The vegetables were destalked as is practiced locally and divided into four lots. destalked vegetables on a raffia mat. Drying methods 500 g portions of the water or steam-blanched vegetables were spread on a wooden tray and placed directly in the sun (relative humidity 78-83%. The vegetables were placed on perforated stainless steel trays. Chemical treatment. For the control. This mixture was found in a previous study to give these vegetables optimum sensory qualities . and Solanum nud~orum (Igbagba) were purchased from the market.5KN (m2). protein (N x 6. These vegetables are the most popular in the South-Western part of Nigeria. The second lot of vegetables were blanched in steam (16. Vegetables in lot 3 were blanched in an identical manner to the steam blanch treatment for 6-8 minutes except that the vegetables were dipped in solutions containing a mixture of sodium bicarbonate 2% (w/v). ascorbic acid.20psi. Celosia argentia (Soko). Materials and methods Batches of (Amaranthus hybridus) (Tete). ambient temperature 28-31°C). chemical analyses and sensory evaluations. Blanch methods The shortest blanching time for each vegetable type was established as determined by negative peroxidase test . 110. blanching and drying tests. unblanched vegetables were sun-dried as in local practice by spreading the cleaned. Lots 1-3 were kept in a refrigerator (4°C) until used on each occasion for the chemical pretreatments.005 molar calcium chloride. One lot of each vegetable type was set aside for the determination of moisture. washed in chlorinated water (0.3%).
The colour of the vegetables was measured with the Munsell Disk Colorimeter.5°C to 0°C for 16 weeks. The moisture content of the vegetables that were freshly harvested or blanched and dried was determined by the vacuum oven method . For each test. Drying and rehydration ratio of the dried vegetables were determined in triplicate according to the method outlined by Van Arsdel and Copley . moisture and ash contents were determined by standard methods  (duplicate determinations on randomly selected samples).293 Another portion of the steam or water blanched vegetables was loaded into a perforated stainless steel tray and placed in a Memmert cabinet dryer (drying temperature 70-75°C. texture (crispness) and acceptability of the fresh. outlet air 30-35°. Statistical analys&. Chemical and physical tests Ascorbic and carotene contents of the vegetables were determined by standard methods . Sensory evaluation A 5 member panel was used to evaluate the quality attributes of colour. Results and discussion Table 1 shows the levels of the nutrients of the fresh and dried vegetables . the control were either fresh unblanched or blanched dried vegetables. In a parallel experiment unblanched vegetables were dried by the two methods for comparison with the blanched ones. The dried vegetables were rehydrated in water at room temperature for 2 h. blanched or unblanched dried and frozen vegetables. The unblanched or steam or water blanched vegetables were kept in the home type deep freezer maintained at a temperature . Panelists were asked to compare the quality attributes of the vegetables using a preference scale with 1 = dislike extremely. Data were analyzed statistically using the paired comparison technique . Drying time was approximately 6-7 h for the sun-drying with the tray loaded 20 mm depth) and 2-3 h for the cabinet dryer for vegetable loaded to depth of 25 mm./o). Nitrogen was determined by the Kjeldahl method. and 5 = like extremely. relative humidity inlet air 78-83%.
These changes apparently indicated different stages of deterioration which might be attributed to fluctuations in the voltage supply to the freezer. prior to being sun-dried had a brownish colour which the panelists rejected as unacceptable. Similar observations have been reported for broccoli and other vegetables [12. 6. the sun-dried vegetables lacked the typical crispness of the hot air-dried vegetables even at similar moisture levels. The high cost of home-type freezer and irregular power supply at present suggest the inappropriateness of freezing as a method of vegetable prservation in the developing countries. blanching and drying processes had a significant effect on the quality characteristics of the dried vegetables. and ash compared to the fresh vegetables. At the end of the 16-week storage period. Water-blanched vegetables. carotene and ash contents as fresh ones. The data showed that the blanch method and the chemical pretreatment had a significant effect on the nutrient retention. non-protein nitrogen. 16. The effect of the drying conditions on the physical and sensory quality characteristics of the dried vegetables are shown in Table 2. This result confirms previous reports in the literature and supports the advantages of steam blanching over water blanching [5. However. showed increased levels of pH. . Apart from colour differences. No significant differences in the drying and rehydration ratio were apparent among the dried vegetables but the chemical pretreatments. The frozen vegetables were rated low in comparison with the fresh samples apparently because of the freeze-thaw damage which affected the colour and texture of the frozen vegetables. Steam-blanched vegetables treated with ammonium bicarbonate and dried in the cabinet dryer were rated as highly as the fresh or rehydrated freeze dried samples. 7. The deep green colour and crisp texture of the dried samples were preferred to the sun-dried lots. The retention of ascorbic acid and carotene was improved by the chemical pretreatment for the steam blanch and the higher temperature short time duration in the cabinet dryer. the steam-blanched chemically pretreated frozen vegetables. Water blanching and sun-drying caused greater reductions in the levels of ascorbic acid and carotene than steam blanching and cabinet drying. 17]. carotene. 17]. carotene and ash contents (data not shown) in comparison to the fresh samples.294 which were studied. The blanching and drying treatments caused a significant reduction in the levels of ascorbic acid. without chemical pretreatment. and lower ascorbic acid. the sensory properties were significantly improved by chemical treatment prior to steam blanching. lower levels were found in the water blanched vegetables given the same treatments. In general those vegetables which were steam blanched after treatment with ammonium bicarbonate and sodium carbonate had as high ascorbic acid.
31 15.07 0.67 120.5 5.69 164.33 57.15 0.92 100 55.06 100 48.57 23.50 21.8 5.86 60.10 0.25 28.09 0.31 100 67. Blanching time varied between 3-6 minutes due to differences in leaf thickness.Table 1.15 0.11 100 0. b~ . Composition and nutrient retention in blanched and dried vegetablesa Ascorbic acid (mg/100 g) Retention (%) Carotene b (/2g/100 g) Retention (%) Crude protein (N x 6.12 25.57 26.80 26.16 0.50 16.09 31.32 26.64 23.79 58.07 164.31 15.71 44.0 5.11 0.6 87 12.5 6.40 51.55 111.15 24. b Values are expressed on dry weight basis.50 85 13.93 51.26 a Figures in rows 1-6 refer to the following treatments: (1) fresh vegetables.10 23.36 71.31 73.6 5.50 26.29 86 14 9.00 74.06 100 0.73 28.13 0.24 0.34 15.6 6.08 0.80 41.69 25.25 mg) (g/a00 g) Ash (rag/100 g) Vegetables Moisture (%) Amaranthus hybridus 33.00 23.30 6.25 27.81 49.8 10.19 0.57 110.30 15.50 23.72 96.5 416.38 130.69 26.39 28.8 5.38 34.05 - (Tete) Celosia argentia (Soko) Solanum nudiflorum (Igbagba) 1 2 3 4 5 6 1 2 3 4 5 6 1 2 3 4 5 6 29.56 203 174 205 241 216 216.50 50.2 11.10 0. (2) Unblanched sun-dried vegetables (3) water blanched hot air dried (4) steam-blanched hot air dried (5) steam blanched with chemical pretreatment hot-air dried (6) Hot water blanched chemically treated hot and dried.17 25.05 32.19 31.22 75.6 5.07 30.50 23.34 16.74 1780 200 175 130 150 108 1890 250 189 280 250 220 1960 300 200 320 460 250 100 0.14 32.05 118.
2 Celosia argentia 4.0 5.5Y 5.2 y 2. 3.36/3 Greenish yellow Greenish yellow (Igbagba) 1 2 3 4 0 13.2 3.2 3.2 y 2.8 5.6 x 2.8 5. .5 y 2.2 x 2.4 5.0 5.5 z 2.28/4 7.9 x 3.4/4.5 X 2.8 X 3.5 11. Scores represent m e a n s of 12judgements and are based o n a 5 p o i n t scale where 1 = dislike extremely a n d 5 = like extremely for the sensory attribute.5 0.8 11. 4 refer to treatments as described in Table 1. 1.8 y 2.8 7.0 5.6 9. k Munsell colour notations did n o t correlate with panel j u d g e m e n t in acceptability.5 (Tete) 1 2 3 4 0 11. 2.5 y (Soko) 1 2 3 4 0 13.22 3.5 x 2. freeze dried samples or fresh leaves.2 y 2.05/5 5 G Y 5.2/5. m Different superscripts indicate a significance difference at the 5% level.0 0 6.6 y Solanum nudiflorum 5 G Y 5.5 5. C o n t r o l samples were either steam blanched chemically treated.bo Table 2.0 y 2.5 x 2.7 x 2.6 y 2.0 5 G Y 5.2 z 3.8 0.7 x 3.5GY 5.2 3.25/4 7.0 x 2.8 x 3.5GY 6.5Y 5.4 y **Figures in rows.36/3 7.05/6 Greenish yellow Greenish yellow Sensory k colour description k Vegetables Drying ratio Rehydration ratio Amaranthus hybridus Medium Greenish yellow Greenish yellow Greenish yellow 4.3 5.0 11.2 3.9 x 3.8 y Minsell colour notation 5 G Y 5.8 x 3.5 z 3.3 x 2.Y 2.3 z 3.0 12.28/4 5 G Y 5.5 10.5 x 3. Physical characteristics and sensory quality o f dried vegetables** Overall acceptability m Colour Texture Acceptability 3.3 x 3.
potential for adoption in rural communities and prevention of post harvest loss of a valuable food in comparison to canning or freezing methods. Proceedings Nig Inst Food Tech 1:56-60 3. Farkas DE (1975) Yields and solids loss in steam blanching cooling and freezing vegetables. steam-blanched vegetables. Ajayi OA. Food Tech 23:238-242 7. dried in a simple device such as cabinet dryer will reduce nutrient losses and maintain better sensory qualities than the sun-drying technique. and blanching. Eheart MS. Dehydration of the vegetables (with good packaging) has considerable merit. Feaster JF (1960) Effects of commercial processing on the composition of fruits and vegetables. as an appropriate vegetable preservation technique in the tropics. AOAC (1970) Official Method of Analysis. A: Washing. Copley MJ (1963) Food Dehydration. 1lth edn. Hudson JS. Westport Conn. Osifo OA (1977) Home preservation of fruits and vegetables in Nigeria. This technology is quite simple and appropriate with respect to the cost of operation. I. J Food Sci 38:202 8. J Food Sci 40:660-664 6. pH and chlorophylls in broccoli. Dietrich WC. In: Harris RS. Eheart MS (1969) Variety. texture (crispness) and overall acceptability. Bomben JL. Addition of sodium bicarbonate and ammonium bicarbonate to the steam-blanch improved the quality and acceptibility of the vegetables compared to waterblanched and sun-dried vegetables. Van Arsdel WB.297 In terms of an appropriate preservation technique for some common leafy vegetables. The conventional method of sun-drying vegetables in many homes should be improved in order to obtain vegetables of better nutrient quality. trimining. Co.. Proceedings Nig Inst of Food Tech 1:68 71 2. Dietrich WC. compared to steam-blanching followed by freezing. Hamilton HK. with chemical pre-treatment. Onayemi O (1977) Effect of steam blanching and chemical treatments on the quality characteristics of some common leafy vegetables grown in Nigeria. Ajayi AK. Farkas DE (1975) Yields and solids loss in steam blanching cooling and freezing vegetables. References 1. carotene and ash) and sensory qualities of colour. Odland D (1973a) Use of ammonium compounds for chlorophyll retention in frozen green vegetables. blanching solution and packaging effects on ascorbic acid total acids. 246-248 5. Hudson JS. fresh storage. Pinciples Avi. Washington. Association Offical Analytical Chemists. DC 4. J Food Sci 40:660-664 5. Hamilton HK. Bomben JL. Von Loesecke H (eds) . pp. Conclusion The results of this study indicated that steam-blanching and hot air drying of leafy vegetables gave products that were superior to solar-drying on the basis of nutrient retention (ascorbic acid. Vol. Publ.
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