Submitted to: Microwave Power Symposium Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/20/2012
Publication Date: 6/20/2012
Citation: Milczarek, R.R., Avena Bustillos, R., Mchugh, T.H. 2012. Exploration of conditions for microwave roasting of almonds (abstract). Microwave Power Symposium Proceedings. (00).
Technical Abstract: Almond roasting is an energy-intensive process that is usually performed via hot-air convection. Microwave roasting could be a more energy-efficient alternative to hot-air roasting, but microwave roasting of almonds has not yet been thoroughly explored. Thus, the purpose of this study was to determine the effects of microwave roasting conditions on the quality of California almonds [Prunus dulcis (Mill.) D.A. Webb cv. Nonpareil]. Almonds were roasted in a Panasonic household microwave oven, nominally 1300 W. In a designed experiment, 3 variables were tested: applied power (2.8 W/g, 6.2 W/g, and 8.8 W/g), heating time (60 seconds, 120 seconds, and 180 seconds), and presence or absence of mixing. Measured response variables included internal color, percentage weight loss (due to moisture loss), water activity, and 7 instrumental texture metrics derived from a force/deformation curve. For each treatment, the coefficient of variation of the response variables was also considered, since uniform product quality is a priority in the food industry. Applied power and heating time had a significant (p < 0.05) effect on the mean values of all the response variables except the yellowness/blueness of the internal color (which was only affected by heating time) and the area under the texture force/deformation curve to the point of maximum force (which was only affected by applied power). Presence or absence of mixing only significantly affected 5 of the 7 texture metrics and the percentage weight loss; the magnitude of these effects was smaller than that of applied power and heating time. Regarding variability of the end product, applied power and heating time had a significant effect on the coefficient of variation of each texture metric associated with the first fracture of the almond. The results of this study lay the groundwork for optimization of microwave roasting conditions for California almonds.