Skip to main content
ARS Home » Southeast Area » Raleigh, North Carolina » Food Science Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #135761

Title: Factors influencing texture retention of salt-free, acidified, red bell peppers during storage

item McFeeters, Roger
item Fleming, Henry

Submitted to: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/24/2002
Publication Date: 2/1/2003
Citation: Papageorge, L.M., McFeeters, R.F., Fleming, H.P. 2003. Factors influencing texture retention of salt-free, acidified, red bell peppers during storage. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 51(5):1460-1463.

Interpretive Summary: Red bell pepper is a high value vegetable that is used as an ingredient in a variety of processed foods, such as pickle mixes, frozen pizzas, and pastas. It is a nutritious vegetable with high vitamin A and vitamin C content. One method for bulk preservation, so that peppers can be used as an ingredient in other foods, is to put washed, de-stemmed peppers in an acetic acid/salt solution to equalize at pH 3.5 and 15% salt. Red peppers stored in this way are susceptible to softening. The high salt used for preservation is a waste disposal problem. There is a need for economical bulk methods for peppers that will retain firmness of the peppers during storage for up to a year. In addition, waste generation from the bulk storage process should be minimized. This paper describes conditions for salt-free storage of red peppers in acid with sulfite added to prevent spoilage by microorganisms. A series of experiments were carried out to determine the best conditions of pH, acid concentration, blanch treatment, and calcium addition to retain pepper firmness during storage at 86 deg F. The information obtained from this work is required to develop a better process to store and use red peppers as a food ingredient.

Technical Abstract: Red bell peppers were stored in a salt-free, acidified cover solution with sulfite as a microbial preservative. The texture retention of stored peppers was evaluated as a function of pH, acid, calcium, blanch treatment, and growing conditions of the peppers. Field-grown peppers softened at a faster rate than greenhouse-grown peppers, and exhibited more variability in their ability to maintain texture during storage. Improved firmness retention of red peppers stored at 30 deg C was observed when the pH was adjusted to be in the range of 3.4-3.8, at least 5 mM calcium was added to the peppers, and when red peppers were blanched at 75 deg C for at least 1 min.