Gummy confections from cactus pear: chemical characteristics, texture profile and sensory quality

C. Sáenz, A.M. Fabry, L. Contador, N. Franck
The aim of this work was to evaluate the physico-mechanical, chemical and sensory properties of purple cactus pear gummy confections (GC). The GC were prepared with purple cactus pear pulp, unflavored gelatin, sugar and water according to previous trials. The mechanical properties of the GC were assessed by two different tests: texture profile analysis (TPA) and puncture test. Soluble solids (°Brix), moisture, water activity (aw), color parameters (L, a*, b*, C* and hab), betalains by HPLC (mg betanin eq. 100 g‑1), total phenolic content (mg GAE 100 g‑1), and antioxidant capacity (ORAC) as µm eq. Trolox 100 g‑1, were also measured. A focus group determined the sensory quality descriptors and a non-structured scale (0-15) was used by a trained panel to evaluate these parameters. Chemical and physical analyses were carried out in triplicate. The average force obtained from the puncture test was 1.36 N and 0.19 N mm‑1 for elasticity, while the TPA test showed an average gumminess of 111, and an average hardness of 143 N. The GC showed a dark purple brilliant and attractive color (a*=26±4.9, and hab=15±1.3), 2.3±0.02 mg betanin eq. 100 g‑1 and a high antioxidant capacity (1796 µm eq. Trolox 100 g‑1) compared with similar foodstuffs. Moisture content (21.5±0.6%) and aw (0.755±0.05), allowed the classification of the GC as an intermediate-moisture food. The trained panel described the GC with a high intensity color (11), medium hardness (8), medium cactus pear aroma (7.4) and medium cactus pear flavor (8.5). This preliminary study shows that there are ample possibilities to produce this kind of product at a low-scale level, thus providing a real alternative for small-scale farmers involved in the production of cactus pear fruits.
Sáenz, C., Fabry, A.M., Contador, L. and Franck, N. (2019). Gummy confections from cactus pear: chemical characteristics, texture profile and sensory quality. Acta Hortic. 1247, 207-212
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2019.1247.28
Opuntia ficus-indica, confectionery gels, purple cactus pear, texture, sensory characteristics

Acta Horticulturae