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Hassan A. Al-Kahtani

Eleven pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) cultivars were first evaluated, dried for 9 days at 20C and 47% relative humidity (RH), 30C and 33% RH, and 40C and 25% RH before storage at 20 ± 2C and 47% RH. `Taifi-A' was given the highest scores for sensory evaluation. `Kab El-Jameel' contained significantly more edible portion and more juice, and had lower pH and higher acidity than any other cultivar. The highest vitamin C content was found in `Taifi-A', `Red Balady', and `Mellasi'. Drying at 40C and 25% RH seriously damaged the pomegranates. `De-Jativa, `Molar', `Succary', and `Taifi-R' softened on the 4th day of drying and were more sensitive to drying conditions than the others. Drying at 30C and 33% RH and at 20C and 47% RH did not appear to have visually deleterious effects on the internal portion of the fruit, but the edible portion was slightly inferior to that of fresh (refrigerated) fruits, particularly those dried at 30C and 33% RH. The juices of most dried fruits had higher pH, acidity, and total soluble solids content, but less vitamin C than fresh fruits. Fruits dried at 30C and 33% RH or 20C and 47% RH remained acceptable at 20 ± 2C and 47% RH for up to 3 months or more, depending on the cultivar. Fungal decay (Aspergillus niger. Tiesh. and some Penicillum spp. were found) appeared only in fruits previously dried at 20C and 47% RH. Partial drying of pomegranates maybe useful for processed juice products.