European food research and technology vol:226 issue:5 pages:1145-1154
Strawberry samples of two varieties (Camarosa and Elsanta) were dehydrated using different osmotic solutions (60% glucose, fructose, sucrose and raftilose) and subsequently frozen by rapid and high-pressure shift freezing (HPSF). The effect of pectinmethylesterase (PME) and calcium (Ca++) added to the osmotic solutions on several compositional parameters and the textural/structural quality of dehydrated and osmodehydrofrozen-then-thawed samples was studied. Due to the presence of PME and Ca++ in the osmotic solutions, weight reduction upon dehydration was slightly decreased, which was correlated to a small positive effect on the net uptake of sugars and depression of the initial freezing point. Except for the Camarosa samples treated with sucrose, PME and Ca++ in osmotic sugar solutions positively affected the relative hardness of dehydrated fruits, which was ascribed to the effect of PME and Ca++ on the cell wall strength of the tissue. No cell wall damage and tissue particle alterations were observed upon dehydration. The effect of osmotic dehydration (OD) using different sugar solutions without PME and Ca++ on the texture and structure of frozen-then-thawed samples was limited and sometimes negative. The added PME and Ca++ however positively influenced the volume and shape of the thawed samples, which could be related to slightly higher relative hardness values and, for the Elsanta strawberry fruits, also to the reduced (up to 81%) drip loss upon thawing. Upon freezing the dehydrated fruits, no cell wall disruption was observed. Tissue distortion caused by freezing and indicated by a decrease in particle size, convexity and roundness, was compensated by the use of PME and Ca++ during OD.