New, ARS-developed pear
bars capture fresh fruit
taste. Some contain blueberries
or cranberries, too.
If you like fresh pears, you'll want to try a new, 100-percent
fruit snack called a pear bar. This cinnamon-colored treat is "soft
and chewy, with an intense pear flavor," says ARS
food technologist Tara H. McHugh at Albany, California.
McHugh and colleague Charles C. Huxsoll, an agricultural
engineer, patented the food-processing technology that made it possible
to create an all-natural fruit bar that doesn't crumble and stays fresh
without the need for artificial preservatives. They did the work in
their laboratory at the ARS Western Regional Research Center at Albany.
The bars, about the size of a typical granola barbut
a bit slimmerwill be made and marketed by HR Mtn. Sun, Inc., of
Hood River, Oregon. The scenic Hood River valley is one of the nation's
premier pear-producing regions. The bars represent an innovative new
way to process pears. HR Mtn. Sun, Inc. holds an exclusive license for
the novel technology.
Under terms of a cooperative research and development
agreement, company specialists are working with McHugh and Huxsoll to
ready the food-making process for production. Plans call for the pear-bar
product line to include not only the basic bar, which has bits of dried,
diced pears for added texture, but also a flavorful pear-blueberry bar
and a zesty pear-cranberry bar. All will be a boon for the region's
producers, as well as for consumers looking for a new way to enjoy these
perishable fruits. Most pears grown today are either sold fresh or they're
canned, dried, or processed into fruit cocktail, nectar, juice, baby
food, or other familiar offerings.
Like fresh pears, pear bars provide fiber, vitamin C,
and several minerals, including iron and potassium. But, unlike the
fresh-market fruit, pear bars aren't perishable and will be available
The bars are made by processing pears into puree and concentrate
to capture their freshness and flavor. After the rush to ship the fresh-market
crop to buyers nationwide and overseas subsides, the puree is either
spray- or drum-dried, then mixed with concentrate. The mixture is shaped
into bars using a standard piece of food-processing equipment known
as an extruder.
"The technique is fast, easy, energy-efficient, and
relatively inexpensive," McHugh says. "It can also be used
to produce other all-natural food items from other fresh fruits, and
from vegetables, as well. That should make it easier for everyone to
get the recommended 5 to 9 daily servings of fruits and veggies needed
for good health."By Marcia
Wood, Agricultural Research Service Information Staff.
This research is part of Quality and Utilization of
Agricultural Products, an ARS National Program (#306) described on the
World Wide Web at http://www.nps.ars.usda.gov.
For further information about U.S. Patent No. 6,027,758,
"Restructured Fruit and Vegetable Products and Processing Methods,"
contact Tara H. McHugh or Charles
C. Huxsoll, USDA-ARS Western Regional
Research Center, Processed Foods Research Unit, 800 Buchanan St.,
Albany, CA 94710; phone (510) 559-5650, fax (510) 559-5851.
"Pear BarsA Tasty New Treat" was published in
2002 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.