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Effect of low-temperature preservation on the quality of vacuum-packaged dry-cured ham: refrigerated boneless ham and frozen ham cuts

Cilla, I., Martinez, L., Beltran, J.A., Roncales, P.
Meat science 2006 v.73 no.1 pp. 12-21
water content, ham, dried meat, cured meats, food packaging, vacuum packaging, food storage, refrigeration, freezing, storage time, frozen storage, frozen meat, meat quality, sensory evaluation, off odors, flavor, texture, hardness, meat tenderness, food acceptability, pH, water activity, salt content, lipid peroxidation, thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances, color, lipid content, fatty acid composition, volatile organic compounds, nitrogen
The effect of storage on dry-cured ham quality was studied. Sixteen vacuum-packaged boneless dry-cured hams and sixteen vacuum-packaged dry-cured ham cuts were stored in darkness under refrigeration (4 +/- 2 degrees C; 8 months) or freezing (-18 +/- 1 degrees C; 24 months), respectively. Instrumental colour and texture, physico-chemical and biochemical parameters, sensory profile and consumer acceptability and purchase satisfaction were measured throughout storage. The overall quality of refrigerated boneless dry-cured hams and frozen dry-cured ham cuts showed only limited changes throughout long-term storage. Significant changes involved loss of odour and flavour, increased adhesiveness and modification of hardness, the Semimembranosus muscle became tender while Biceps femoris became harder, leading to a higher textural homogeneity. In agreement with those changes, the overall acceptability assessed by a trained panel decreased throughout storage, though this was significant regarding only frozen hams. However, consumer evaluation of acceptability, as well as satisfaction with hypothetical purchasing, did not vary significantly throughout storage.