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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Raleigh, North Carolina » Food Science Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #127996


item McFeeters, Roger
item Fleming, Henry

Submitted to: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/22/2002
Publication Date: 7/10/2002
Citation: Palma-Harris, C., McFeeters, R.F., Fleming, H.P. 2002. Fresh cucumber flavor in refrigerated pickles: comparison of sensory and instrumental analysis. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 50:4875-4877.

Interpretive Summary: 'Overnight' dill pickles are made by putting fresh cucumbers in a jar, adding a brine solution and spices, and then immediately refrigerating. No acid is added to the product. This gives a pickle with a fresh cucumber flavor mixed in with the characteristic dill and garlic flavor. The flavor compounds that give fresh cucumber flavor are not present in cucumbers, but are formed rapidly by enzymes in the cucumber as it is chewed. This work was designed to measure changes in the ability of cucumbers to form these fresh flavor compounds as the pH of the product declined during storage. Using both taste panels and instrumental methods to measure fresh cucumber flavor production, it was found that this flavor generation decreased as the pH was reduced, whether that happened naturally during refrigerated storage or the pH reduction was done by intentionally adding acid to the product. Taste panelists were able distinguish different levels of flavor generation by the cucumbers even in the presence of the strong spice flavors typically added to these products.

Technical Abstract: The ability of non-acidified, refrigerated pickled cucumbers to produce the fresh cucumber flavor impact compounds, (E,Z)-2,6-nonadienal and (E)-2-nonenal, declined during storage. Production of these compounds decreased as the pH of refrigerated cucumbers was reduced. Despite the fact that the concentrations of (E,Z)-2,6-nonadienal and (E)-2-nonenal generated were over 10 SUP 5-fold greater than the threshold levels, it was possible for a sensory panel to consistently detect differences in the intensity of fresh cucumber flavor provided the pH difference between samples was 1 unit or greater. The presence of spices did not interfere with the ability of panelists to detect differences in fresh flavor intensity. There was a linear correlation between sensory scores and the amount of (E,Z)-2,6-nonadienal produced by cucumbers equilibrated at different pH levels.