With a view to the obtaining sensorial and nutritional attractive pumpkin products at intermediate moisture, combined methods will be evaluated. For this, the influence of pre-treatments on drying kinetics and on physic-chemical and sensory properties of pumpkins with sugar and cinnamon will be studied. The treatments will be stepwise blanching and osmotic dehydration (OD). Stepwise blanching will be studied between 50-75oC temperatures during the first stage, followed by a blanching at high temperature (90 or 95oC) after a holding time. Blanching conditions, which produce the best firm textures, will be selected so as to investigate the OD kinetics between 50-65% sucrose concentrations. Processes, which show the best product texture and color retention, will be chosen so that the drying kinetics of these samples will be studied. Color, texture, water activity and volume will be measured in the dried samples. Sorption isotherms will be determined. The best processing combinations will be selected to investigate its influence on both carotenoids retention and sensory characteristics. Operation parameters useful for designing and processing control are expected to be found.
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