2012 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
The ultimate goal of this project is to create new and alternative technologies to produce peeled, pasteurized, blanched, dehydrated/partially-dehydrated, and/or infused/coated fruits and vegetables, restructured fruits and vegetable products, nuts, rice, or fish by-products by using a combination of infrared dry-blanching (IDB), infrared peeling, freezing, freeze drying, air drying, pulsed electric field, and/or infusion/coating or related processing technologies. The new processing technologies would produce processed products with improved texture and nutritional quality, lowered production costs and reduced microbial loads compared to current technologies. The developed products may be used for cereals, snacks, and other applications.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Fresh and/or frozen fruits and vegetables, fresh and frozen fruit and vegetable purees, nuts, rice, and/or fish by-products will be used for this research. The new processing methods may include IDB, infrared peeling, infrared drying, freeze drying, freezing, air drying, pulsed electric filed, ultrasonic treatment, dipping, infusion, and/or coating or combinations of some of the processing methods. The sliced or restructured fruits and vegetables may be dipped in antioxidant solution for prevention of discoloration prior to any thermal processing steps. The effect of infusion/coating of flavors, humectants, nutrients, and phytochemicals at various processing stages on product quality and processing characteristics will be tested and evaluated.
Substantial progress have been achieved in investigation, development and commercialization of IR peeling, drying and dry-blanching technologies for fruits and vegetables, rice quality appraisal methods, new walnut sorting and drying methods, healthy French fries, and value-added utilization of seeds from fruits and vegetables. This project relates to objective 2 from the parent project. A pilot scale IR peeling system in supporting of commercialization of the sustainable peeling technology has been developed and will be used for demonstration in tomato processing industry. A multiple-functional IR peeling system is under development for peeling various fruits, such as pears and peaches. Industrial partners have been identified for demonstration and commercialization of IR drying and dry-blanching technology (patent pending, licensed by a company). The research showed that healthy French fries could be produced using IR as a blanching method to replace water blanching. The research also revealed that the current shrink chart for paddy rice quality appraisal should be updated for truly reflecting the rice quality, which will significantly benefit the rice farmers. The research team also developed a new sorting soring method based on aerodynamic properties and moisture of walnuts and IR pre-drying method for significantly reducing drying time and energy. Significant progress has also been made to develop a cold press method for producing high quality oil from seeds of fruits and vegetables, such as grapes and tomatoes.