Blanching

The blanching process typically utilizes temperatures around 75-95°C for times of about 1-10 min, depending on the product requirements. It is a necessary pretreatment for many vegetables in order to achieve satisfactory quality in dehydrated, canned, and frozen products. A blanching process may be needed if there is likely to be a delay in reaching enzyme inactivation temperatures or, as in freezing preservation, if such temperatures are never achieved. The process should ensure the required reduction of enzyme activity that otherwise might cause undesirable changes in odor, flavor, color, texture, and nutritive value during frozen storage. Another major effect is the removal of intercellular gases. This reduces the potential for oxidative changes in the food and allows the achievement of suitable headspace vacua within cans. As a heat process, blanching may result in some reduction in microbial load, and texture may be improved. Vegetable matter tends to shrink because of loss of turgor, which can aid the achievement of the required fill weight. Undesirable losses of heat sensitive nutrients may be caused, and, in water blanching, soluble constituents may be leached, resulting in large volumes of effluent (1).

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