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Developing a Recommendation for Home-Canned Peaches with a Sucralose Sugar Substitute

E. M. D'Sa and E. L. Andress. Dept. of Foods & Nutrition Extension, University of Georgia, 208 Hoke Smith Annex, Athens, GA 30602.

Paper 020D-07. Presented at the Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting, Orlando, FL, June 26, 2006.

Abstract

Sugar substitutes are important in controlling calorie intake for consumers with health problems including obesity and diabetes. Among these, Splenda® (sucralose) is popular and suitable for inclusion in heat processed products. Consumer driven demands for safe, acceptable, shelf-stable home-canned fruit containing sugar substitute, necessitated a research based recommendation for home canned peaches containing Splenda®.
The objective was to recommend a process for peaches canned in Splenda® sugar substitute, based on product development and analysis of consumer sensory preferences.
Selected ‘Ruston Red’ peaches were canned in water, medium sugar syrup, full-strength ‘medium’ Splenda® syrup and half-strength ‘medium’ Splenda® syrup, using the USDA boiling water process for peaches. Physicochemical characteristics of fresh, canned and pre-consumption peaches were recorded, including pH, firmness, titratable acidity, percent soluble solids, and color. Peaches were stored in a temperature-monitored environment for 15 months and a consumer preference study followed. 42 respondents indicated their preferences for each sample using a 9-point hedonic scale and took a short survey providing information about their food preparation and consumption practices. Attributes scored included appearance, color, aroma, flavor, texture, sweetness, tartness, aftertaste and overall acceptability.
Overall acceptability was highest for peaches canned in sugar syrup, followed by full strength Splenda®, half strength Splenda®, and lastly, water. Full-strength Splenda® rated higher than half strength Splenda® on appearance, color, aroma, flavor, and texture while the half strength product scored higher on tartness and sweetness. There was no difference in aftertaste detection between the two. One-third respondents would be willing to buy either Splenda® product. The products were acid, hence suitable for boiling water canning.
A safe process for home-canning peaches using a sugar substitute is both timely and necessary. This study provides a research- and consumer-endorsed home-canning recommendation for peaches canned with medium strength Splenda® syrup that is both safe and acceptable.

Introduction

Home-canning of home-grown or locally purchased produce is a popular practice in the U.S (Andress, 2001). Abundant availability of summer fruits, especially peaches, prompts consumers to preserve these through canning. However, increasingly, a demand (fueled by health concerns about obesity and diabetes) has arisen for alternatives to sugar used in home-canned foods. The objective of this project was to develop a high-quality home-canned peach product using a non-nutritive sweetener, and to carry out a consumer preference study to determine the ideal level of sweetener to be added. Storage monitoring of the product determined the shelf-life that would be recommended for this product.

Materials and Methods

Canning Methods: The USDA recommended Boiling Water process for home canning peaches was followed (USDA, 1994). ‘Ruston Red’ Elberta-type peaches ideal for cooking were obtained from a local peach orchard (Washington Farms, Watkinsville, GA). The peaches were sorted for quality and ripeness. Care was taken to maintain equivalency in peach ripeness stage (assessed by tactile firmness).

  1. The peaches were washed and hand-peeled, cut into halves, and the pits removed. Peach quarters were soaked in an ascorbic acid solution (3000 mg/gallon water) until used, to prevent darkening.
  2. Four types of covering liquid were used. The solutions were prepared by dissolving the sweetener in water and heating until dissolved. The packing liquids include:
    • water
    • medium strength (30%) sugar syrup (1¾ cups sugar per quart water)
    • full-strength ‘medium’ Splenda® syrup (1¾ cups Splenda® per quart water)
    • half-strength ‘medium’ Splenda® syrup (7/8 cup Splenda® per quart water)
  3. Peaches were hot-packed (brought to a boil in covering liquid from above) into prepared quart home canning jars. Canning lids were prepared according to manufacturer’s directions. Headspace was adjusted to ½ inch, air bubbles were removed and lids applied. Jars were processed for 25 minutes (altitudes up to 1,000 ft) in a Boiling Water Bath canner on a household gas range (Frigidaire Gallery Model ES III). Jars were cooled, undisturbed, for 12-24 hours & seals were checked. Jars were stored in covered boxes for 15 months in a temperature-monitored environment maintained at 65°F.
  4. Physical and chemical characteristics of fresh and canned peaches were measured:
          firmness – Penetrometer Fruit Pressure Tester QA Supplies, Model FT 327
          pH – Orion 520 A+ pH meter
          titratable acidity
          % soluble solids – Leica Abbe Mark II Refractometer Model 13104940
          color - Hunter Miniscan XE plus
peaches

Sensory Analysis

A Consumer Sensory Preference study was conducted with 42 respondents including University students, staff and faculty. A 9-point Hedonic scale was used for the respondents to score several attributes (see Table 1) for each of the 4 canned peach products mentioned above.

Respondents also answered a questionnaire that covered their fruit consumption and buying practices; home-canning experience; use of sugar substitutes, and demographic questions.

Results

Sensory Preferences
Table 1: Highest Score received in each category (number of respondents for this score in parenthesis)
  Water Sugar syrup Full-Strength Splenda® Half-strength Splenda®
Appearance Like moderately (31%) Like very much (43%) Like very much (31%) Like moderately (33.3%)
Color Like moderately (31%) Like very much (43%) Like very much (35.7%) Like moderately (31%)
Aroma Like very much (24%) Like very much (38%) Like moderately (33.3%) Like very much (35.7%)
Flavor Dislike slightly (28.5%) Like moderately (43%) Like moderately (38%) Like moderately (22%)
Texture Like moderately (26.1%) Like very much (47.6%) Like moderately (31%) Like moderately (28.5%)
Sweetness Dislike slightly (26.1%) Like very much (47.6%) Like moderately (28.5%) Like very much (26.1%)
Tartness Dislike slightly (34.1%) Like very much (42.8%) Like moderately (31%) Like very much (17%)
Aftertaste Mild aftertaste (42.5%) Mild aftertaste (53.6%) Mild aftertaste (59%) Mild aftertaste (61%)
Buying Inclination No (85.7%) Yes (73.8%) Yes (33.3%) No (40.5%)

Figure 1: Overall Sensory Acceptability Scores of Panelists for Four Canned Peach Products

chart

Significant Characteristics of Sensory Preferences

  • The product with sugar obtained the highest scores for all positive attributes (Table 1).
  • The ‘full-strength’ Splenda® product received higher scores for 6/9 attributes as compared to ‘half-strength’ Splenda® .
  • For ‘Overall Acceptability’, the preference order was Sugar ‘Full-strength’ Splenda® ‘Half-strength’ Splenda® Water.
  • A strong product delineation was seen in the ‘Buying Inclination’ category, where 73.8% respondents indicated that they would buy the ‘full-sugar’ product, 33.3% indicated that they would buy the ‘full-strength’ Splenda® product, but there was a strong negative buying inclination towards the ‘water’ product (85.7%), and the ‘half-strength’ Splenda® (40.5%) product. This indicates that consumers do not want to compromise on the quality factors in their purchase of canned fruit.

Demographic Results

  • 88% respondents (37/42) were female
  • 52.38% (22/42) were employed full-time
  • 45.23% (19/42) were students
  • 76.19% (32/42) were natives of GA
  • 2 each from Michigan and Tennessee
  • and one each from SC, FL AK, NV, IN, China
Figure 2: Age Range of Respondents
age range of respondents

Fruit Canning and Consumption Practices of Respondents

How often do they consume fruit (n=42)?
  • less than once a day: 20/42 (47.6%)
  • 1-2 times a day: 19/42 (45.2%)
  • More than twice a day: 3/42 (7.1%)
What kind of peaches do they like?
  • Fresh: 39/42 (92.8%)
  • Frozen: 17/42 (40.47%)
  • Canned: 23/42 (54.7%)
How often do they consume store-bought canned fruit?
  • Weekly: 9/42 (21.42%)
  • Monthly: 21/42 (50%)
  • Canned: 23/42 (54.7%)
Do they or family members home can foods?
  • Yes: 12/42 (28.5%)
  • No: 30/42 (71.4%)

Do they regularly use sugar substitutes?
  • Yes: 18/42 (42.8%)
  • No: 24/42 (57.1%)

Why do they use sugar substitutes?
  • Weight loss/calorie control: 14/18 (77.7%)
  • Prefer the taste: 2/18 (11.1%)
  • Ease of dissolving: 2/18 (11.1%)

Table 2: Some physical and chemical characteristics of peaches home-canned with four covering liquids by Three Methods
 
Water Sugar Full-strength Splenda® Half-strength Splenda®
Mean pH 3.61 3.64 3.70 3.60
% solids (of covering liquid) 6.15 24.4 7.2 6.25
Penetrometer firmness 4.37 8.12 11.21 6.87

Table 3: Recommended Boiling Water Bath processing time for peaches home-canned with Splenda®
Style of Pack Hot    
Jar Size Quarts    
 
Altitude 0-1,000 ft 1,001-6,000 ft Above 6,000 ft
 
Processing Time 25 min 30 min 35 min


Conclusions

  • Both full-strength ‘medium’ Splenda® syrup and half-strength ‘medium’ Splenda® syrup are suitable for use in home-canning peaches. However, ‘full-strength’ is preferred overall by most consumers participating in a Sensory Preference study. The ‘standard’ sugar syrup product was the most preferred, and the product canned in water was the least preferred.
  • Peaches canned with Splenda® using the USDA canning instructions for fruit retain quality and shelf life for at least one year when stored under recommended conditions, between 50-70°F, in a dry place away from strong light.

References

   1.   Andress, E.L. 2001. A national survey of current home canning practices in the U.S. Athens, GA: National Center for Home Food Preservation, Department of Foods and Nutrition, The University of Georgia. Unpublished data.
   2. Andress, E.L. and J. A. Harrison. 2006. So Easy To Preserve, 5th Ed. Cooperative Extension Service Bulletin 989, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA.. Canning Fruits – Canning Peaches, p.42.
   3. Statistical Analysis Software, SAS 9.1, 2002-2003. Cary, NC: SAS Institute Inc.
   4. USDA. 1994. Complete Guide to Home Canning. USDA Extension Service. Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539. Canning peaches, p.16.

canned peaches



This project was partially funded through a grant from the National Integrated food Safety Initiative (Grant No. 00-51110-9762) of the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The authors acknowledge Dr. Ruthann Swanson, Department of Foods & Nutrition, University of Georgia, for her assistance with the experimental design of the Sensory Preference study.

Document Use:

Permission is granted to reproduce these materials in whole or in part for educational purposes only (not for profit beyond the cost of reproduction) provided the authors and the University of Georgia receive acknowledgment and this notice is included:

Reprinted with permission of the University of Georgia. E. M. D'sa and E. L. Andress. 2006. Developing a Recommendation for Home-Canned Peaches with a Sucralose Sugar Substitute. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia, Cooperative Extension Service.

References to commercials products, services, and information is made with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by the University of Georgia, U.S. Department of Agriculture and supporting organizations is implied. This information is provided for the educational information and convenience of the reader.

The University of Georgia and Ft. Valley State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and counties of the state cooperating. The Cooperative Extension Service, the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences offers educational programs, assistance and materials to all people without regard to race, color, national origin, age, sex or disability. An Equal Opportunity Employer/Affirmative Action Organization Committed to a Diverse Work Force.

Contact:

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The University of Georgia
Athens, GA 30602-4356

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