The effects of packaging and storage conditions on the moisture content and instrumental and sensory textural properties of raw and salty light roasted (SLR) California almonds were studied under different storage conditions. The controlled combinations included low, medium, and high temperatures and low and high relative humidity (RH). Almond samples were packaged in cartons or polyethylene (PE) bags with and without vacuum. Both absorption and desorption of moisture by almonds were observed during storage and were dependent on the packaging and storage conditions. In general, gradual changes were observed for samples with PE and vacuum PE packaging in most of the storage conditions, while the samples packed in cartons showed more dramatic changes because these unprotected samples were more vulnerable to seasonal changes in humidity. The SLR almonds showed consistent moisture gains, while the raw almonds tended to lose moisture content in most of the storage conditions. This may be attributed to the low initial moisture content of the SLR samples. All raw samples packed in cartons became softer over time. The softening tended to be enhanced by high storage humidity and temperature. The raw almonds packaged in PE bags were firmer than those packed in cartons but also became softer over time. The firmness of the SLR samples was generally lower than that of raw samples, probably because roasting reduced the density and mechanical strength of the kernels. The firmness of PE packaged SLR samples increased in uncontrolled storage conditions and in higher storage temperature and humidity conditions but decreased slightly in lower temperature and humidity conditions. Vacuum packaging did not affect the firmness much. Using PE packaging and maintaining the RH below 50% and the temperature below 25°C are effective in stabilizing both raw and processed almonds.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors are very grateful to the Almond Board of California for providing the financial support and almond samples for this study.
© 2019 American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
- Relative humidity