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Application and optimisation of air–steam cooking on selected vegetables: impact on physical and antioxidant properties

Paciulli, Maria, Dall'Asta, Chiara, Rinaldi, Massimiliano, Pellegrini, Nicoletta, Pugliese, Alessandro, Chiavaro, Emma
Journal of the science of food and agriculture 2018 v.98 no.6 pp. 2267-2276
Brussels sprouts, antioxidant activity, antioxidants, catering, color, cooking, food service workers, hardness, phenols, pumpkins, response surface methodology, steam, temperature, texture
BACKGROUND: Several studies investigated the impact of different cooking techniques on the quality of vegetables. However, the use of the combined air–steam cooking is still scarcely debated, despite the advantages informally referred by professional catering workers. In this study, its optimisation was studied on Brussels sprouts and pumpkin cubes to obtain the best physical (texture, colour) and antioxidant (FRAP, total phenols) response, in comparison to a conventional steaming treatment. RESULTS: Increasing the strength of the air–steam treatment, Brussels sprouts resulted to be softer, less green (higher a* value), richer in phenols and exhibited lower FRAP values than the steamed ones. The air–steamed pumpkin cubes exhibited an equivalent softening degree to that of steamed ones and, under the strongest cooking conditions, a higher antioxidant quality and a yellow darkening (lower b* value). Varying the cooking time and/or temperature, a linear change of force/compression hardness and a* (negative a*: greenness) for Brussels sprouts, b* (yellowness) and total phenol content for pumpkin cubes was observed. A predictive model for these variables was obtained by response surface methodology. The best process conditions to achieve the optimal desirability were also identified. CONCLUSION: The application of air–steam cooking under suitable time/temperature conditions could be proposed as an alternative method to a traditional steam cooking on Brussels sprouts and pumpkin cubes, being able to preserve or improve their quality. The best air–steam cooking conditions were 25 min at 90 °C for Brussels sprouts and 10 min at 110 °C for pumpkin. © 2017 Society of Chemical Industry