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Dried plums are natural substitutes for phosphates in poultry processing.

Recent research conducted at the University of Arkansas has shown that adding dried plum can be a good substitute for the phosphates currently used in processing poultry. Dried plums can be a healthful snack, or they can be used as a versatile cooking or baking ingredient. They provide potassium, soluble and insoluble fiber, phytochemicals that function as antioxidants as well as iron and vitamin A. Dried plum can play an important role in promoting good digestive health.

In the research, all plum products--dried plum fiber, dried prune powder, plum juice concentrate, and a 1-to-1 mix of plum fiber and prune powder--produced a more tender chicken breast fillet than did the traditional phosphate mixture. Consumers found no difference in the treatments when compared to the phosphate control.

Just about right (JAR) scales measure the appropriateness of the level of a specific attribute, and are used to determine the optimum levels of attributes in a product. For consumer testing, the researchers collapsed a five-point JAR scale to a three-point scale, with two on the scale indicating "just about right." Consumers found the juiciness attribute less favorable for plum fiber or prune powder on the likeness scale. But the plum fiber and prune powder "just about right" values were closer to two--just about right.

The plum fiber marinade retained moisture as well as phosphate and had a lower amount of thaw loss but a slightly higher amount of cook loss. Color was comparable to the phosphate control. The prune powder had slightly lower marinade retention and thaw loss and slightly more cook loss than the phosphate control.

The results of this effort underscore the efficacy of dried plums to naturally bind moisture in animal proteins. The ability of dried plums to function in this manner can be attributed to the high levels of fiber and sorbitol that naturally occur in the fruit. When you consider these moisture-binding characteristics along with dried plums' naturally occurring malic acid and high antioxidant capacity, the benefits of incorporating dried plum ingredients into animal proteins become apparent.

Further information. Steven Ricke, Center of Excellence for Poultry Science, POSC 0-308, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701; phone: 479-575-6916; fax: 479-575-3026; email:
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Publication:Emerging Food R&D Report
Date:Jan 1, 2011
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