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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Raleigh, North Carolina » Food Science Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #139425

Title: Bag-in-box technology: Temperature prediction during blanching and cooling of cucumbers

item Fleming, Henry

Submitted to: Pickle Pak Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/15/2002
Publication Date: 11/1/2002
Citation: Fasina, O.O., Humphries, E.G., Fleming, H.P. 2002. Bag-in-box technology: Temperature prediction during blanching and cooling of cucumbers. Pickle Pak Science. VIII:9-13.

Interpretive Summary: High concentrations of salt are used by the pickle industry to preserve brined, pickling cucumbers. Excess salt must be washed from the stored brine-stock before they are made into finished pickles, causing a waste problem. We have developed a method for storing brined cucumbers without generation of excess salt. This method requires blanching of the cucumbers to inactivate undesirable bacteria and enzymes present on the cucumbers. We developed mathematical models to assist us in determining optimum times and temperatures for the blanching process. These models will be useful in applying the low salt brining method to pickling cucumbers.

Technical Abstract: In the bag-in-box procedure cucumbers are blanched before brining to inactivate the natural microflora and enzymes present in them. In addition, it is desired that the temperature of the cucumbers after blanching and brining should not exceed 32 deg C (90 deg F), so as to minimize textural loss due to high temperature. A computer-based, heat transfer program was, therefore, developed to optimize the blanching process. The heat transfer model predicts cucumber temperature during blanching and equilibrium temperature between blanched cucumber and brine/cooling water. Examples of outputs from the program and the influence of cucumber size, initial cucumber temperature, pack-out ratio, and blanching time on the equilibrium temperature attained by blanched cucumber after brining are given in the article.