Effect of Stepwise Blanching and Calcium Chloride Solution on Texture and Structural Properties of Jalapeño Peppers in Brine

Dinora Judith Palma-Zavala1, Armando Quintero-Ramos1*, Jorge Jiménez-Castro1, Ricardo Talamás-Abbud1, John Barnard2, René Renato Balandrán-Quintana3 and Francisco Solís-Martínez1

Department of Chemical Sciences, Autonomous University of Chihuahua, Circuito no. 1, Campus Universitario no. 2, PO Box 1542-C, Chihuahua, Chihuahua, Mexico

2New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, Food Science Department, Cornell University, Geneva, NY 14456, USA
3Center of Research in Food and Development, Carretera a La Victoria km 0.6 C.P. 83304, Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico

Article history:

Received October 4, 2008
Accepted April 14, 2009

Key words:

texture, calcium, microscopy, blanching, brine, jalapeño pepper


Jalapeño peppers incur texture changes during thermal processing due to loss of turgor pressure, tissue softening, and pectin solubility in the cell wall, which affects their quality and acceptability as a processed product among consumers. The objective of this work is to evaluate the effect of stepwise blanching with calcium chloride solution on firmness, calcium absorption and microstructural changes of jalapeño peppers. Batches of 1 kg of pepper halves were blanched at 65 °C for 4 min at different concentrations of CaCl2 (0, 0.075, 0.15 and 0.3 mol/L). After blanching, the peppers were removed, placed in plastic bags and submerged in a water bath at 65 °C for different holding times (0, 15, 30 and 45 min). Then the peppers were blanched again in an acidified solution at 96 °C for 3 min to remove enzymatic activity. Afterwards, peppers were packed in glass containers with brine at 95 °C and pasteurized at 85 °C for 10 min. The product was stored for 10 days at room temperature, then analyzed for texture, calcium absorption, pH, acidity, and microstructural changes. Results showed that CaCl2 concentration and blanching improved firmness with a maximum value of 3.68 N, a 4.3-fold increase over control. Calcium absorption increased with CaCl2 concentration reaching a maximum of 0.68 g of Ca2+ per kg of samples. Microscopy showed reduced cell wall damage in the samples that were blanched in 0.3 mol/L of CaCl2 at 45 min of holding time. The optimum processing conditions determined in this study can be used for improving the firmness of peppers.

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