Document Type

Theses, Ph.D

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This item is available under a Creative Commons License for non-commercial use only

Abstract

The primary goal of this research was to create new alternatives to the legume products currently available to consumers, i.e. canned and dry beans. Chickpeas and soybeans are well established in the Irish consumer market and possess excellent nutritional quality, such as high protein, fibre and phytochemcial content, low cholesterol and low glycaemic index (G.I.), and therefore have potential for classification as functional foods. The first stage of the research culminated with the development of quick-cook chickpeas and soybeans that could be stored in the chill cabinet or freezer. Water intake and textural attributes during soaking were investigated. Using non-linear regression and analysis, asymptotic models were constructed to predict hydration characteristics as functions of soaking time, temperature and blanching pre-treatment. Optimal cooking treatment was estimated by investigating the effect of boiling and microwave processing on texture and sensory characteristics. Shelf life was estimated for pre-cooked samples under chilled, frozen and freeze-chill storage and it was shown that these products could be kept in chilled storage for up to two weeks and in frozen or freeze-chill storage for up to 12 months. In the second stage of research, shelf-stable, dehydrated, quick-cook chickpeas and soybeans were developed. The application of combined microwave-convective drying to pre-cooked chickpeas and soybeans was investigated on a pilot scale. Dehydration kinetics were fitted to an nth order asymptotic model, known as the Page model and rehydration kinetics were fitted to an asymptotic model. Water activity of soybeans and chickpeas was lowered during drying to a value of 0.35, so that the dehydrated products could potentially be stored at room temperature for up to 12 months.

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