Ready-to-eat raspberries: qualitative and nutraceutical characteristics during shelf-life
Raspberry (Rubus idaeus L.) fruits are characterised by a high content of nutraceuticals, such as vitamin C, polyphenols and anthocyanins, which are considered antioxidant compounds. The ready-to-eat raspberry product could increase the market opportunities and the consumption of this high-value-added fruit. The aim of this research was to evaluate the evolution of qualitative and nutraceutical characteristics during the shelf-life of ready-to-eat raspberries. Samples from three raspberry cultivars (‘Glen Magna’, ‘Tulameen’ and ‘Heritage’) were sanitized and then packed in polypropylene bowls. The analyses were carried out at harvest (raw material) and after 3, 6 and 8 days of storage at 3°C. The study indicated the loss of fruit firmness as the most problematic aspect, followed by a less important change in hue values from light red to dark red. The modifications of chemical-physical parameters (soluble solids content, pH and titratable acidity) during shelf-life did not compromise the product quality. Processing and cold storage affected only slightly the nutraceutical profile (scavenging activity, phenols and anthocyanin content), except for ascorbic acid, therefore, the ready-to-eat raspberries could be considered a good source of compounds with potential health benefits. Some handling difficulties were highlighted during processing due to the high fragility of fruit which caused a high percentage of waste.
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