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Intensifying tomato's flavor.

Your favorite spaghetti sauce or tomato soup might taste even better with a new seasoning cooked up by ARS researchers. The scientists developed the blend while researching ways to improve the flavor of fresh tomatoes. Their product, a patented blend of tomatoes' best natural flavors, enhances the rich taste of foods made from tomato paste or sauce.

It can also add the flavor of cooked tomatoes to foods like corn chips or hamburger that normally don't contain tomatoes.

In taste tests, flavor panelists said a high-quality spaghetti sauce and a popular tomato soup had an even better aroma when seasoned with the blend.

ARS research chemist Ronald G. Buttery and colleagues at the ARS Western Regional Research Center, Albany, California, produced the flavor mix. Surprisingly, none of the individual tomato compounds in their formula have the aroma or flavor of cooked tomatoes, he says. Instead, it's the combination of the natural chemicals, and the proportion of each, that create the pleasing fragrance and taste.

Buttery is an authority on tomato flavor. In experiments, he and co-researchers identified--from hundreds of flavor-imparting chemicals in tomatoes--those most important to tomato paste aroma.

They also calculated the natural ratio of each compound. These chemicals had the highest aroma ratings, that is, a score based on data from an instrument (gas chromatograph) and on the perceptions of sensory analysts who sniffed tomatoes' aromatic chemicals.

The researchers then chose seven of the highest ranking of these aroma compounds for the flavor blend. They used most of the chemicals in about the same proportion that they occur naturally in cooked tomatoes.

Most of the compounds are available from commercial sources, and all but one are already approved for food use.

Buttery says the blend can be encapsulated in gelatin to sprinkle on foods and can also be mixed with salt, black pepper, garlic powder, dried herbs, or other familiar seasonings.

One drop, says Buttery, is "enough to boost the flavor of 20 one-quart jars of spaghetti sauce."

For further information on Patent No. 5,064,673, "Cooked Tomato Flavor Composition," contact Ronald G. Buttery, USDA-ARS Western Regional Research Center, Cereal Product Utilization Research, 800 Buchanan St., Albany, CA 94710. Phone (510) 559-5667.

PHOTO : Technician Louisa Ling prepares tomato paste sample for flavor analysis by chemist Ron Buttery at the Western Regional Research Center. (K-4507-7)
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Title Annotation:Agnotes
Author:Wood, Marcia
Publication:Agricultural Research
Date:Feb 1, 1992
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