Effect of Infusion Method and Parameters on Solid Gain in Blueberries
In order to obtain optimal processing conditions for producing infused blueberries with high solid gain, we investigated the infusion characteristics of blueberries under various processing parameters in sugar solutions with 1:1 ratio of solution and berries. Static batch constant concentration infusion and dynamic batch infusion (DBI) were tested as the alternative operations for the traditional static batch infusion. The studied parameters were solution temperature (25 to 70 °C), concentration (20 to 70°Brix), and types of osmotic agent (fructose, dextrose, polydextrose, sucrose, maltodextrin, and corn syrup). The results showed that high solid gain can be achieved by maintaining high and constant concentration of infusion solution at high temperature with dynamic infusion. For DBI, high temperature and high solution concentration resulted in fast and high solid gain. The rate of water loss increased with an increase in solution temperature and concentration. To obtain high quality sugar-infused products with high product yield, a DBI process of 50 °C and 50°Brix sugar infusion is recommended, which could have solid gain of 1.65 g/g after a 5-h infusion. Polydextrose showed higher solid gain than sucrose when infusion time was longer than 180 min, although it had lower solid gain in short-term infusion.