Pickled Gherkin Crunchiness

Situation

If you want to know the crunchiness of a pickle: bite it. Expert testers are relied on throughout the food industry, but can you objectively quantify crunchiness, and use this to assure product consistency, or improve manufacture? Different preparations can also be compared for measurable degrees of crunchiness.

 

Method

A Food Technology Corporation's (FTC) TMS-Pro texture analyzer was used, fitted with a 500 N intelligent loadcell and a TMS lightweight blade set. This fixture features two blades with four different cutting edges. The large v-notched blade was chosen as being most suitable for the product being tested.

The TL-Pro test program was written to slice through each sample pickled gherkin (dill cucumber) at a speed of 250 mm/min to a distance far enough to cut it through completely. Due to the variable nature of the product, several cuts were made in each pickle so as to gain a better overall picture of the product. On completion of the test, the TL Pro graphical data and calculations on the sample were examined.

 

Results

The two traces shown are a representative sample from the control group and the "crunchiest" sample from the sea salt group.

The same results with additional calculations are shown here.

  • Crunch factor = firmness x work
  • Average = arithmetic mean
  • SD = standard deviation
  • CV = coefficient of variation: (SD/Mean) x 100

 

Significance

It can be seen from the data that the signatures of the normal salt (control) product and the sea salt product are clearly distinguishable. The "crunch factor" is derived from measures of both firmness and work done to achieve the full cut, and a sharper peak in the graph shows a crisper snap. In fact over multiple samples, there is also greater consistency (CV) in the sea salt preparation than in the control sample.

By establishing data profiles in this way for the subjective assessment (bite) of quality-approved sample products, an objective comparator can be used in the texture analyzer for accurate and repeatable mechanized production line testing. New formulations can also be tested that improve consistency or shelf life, based on expert sensory assessment but objectively measurable.

Trusted by customers across the world

I have been using the TMS-Pro mechanical tester in our undergraduate biological materials property course for the past 3 years. The simple setup and operation of the TMS-Pro allows my students to focus on learning the theoretical underpinnings of mechanical properties instead of fighting with a finicky test system.

An added bonus is working with Shirl and his amazing team at Food Technology Corporation. They respond almost immediately to questions and inquiries and are always friendly and helpful. 

Jennifer (Melander) Keshwani, Ph.D. University of Nebraska-Lincoln
http://www.unl.edu/

Nestle purchased a texture system from Food Technology Corporation in 2006. Since then I have recommended the texture system to several vendors in North and Central America. Staff at FTC was able to develop a simple training manual and procedure for the texture system allowing easy training in short period of time.

From purchasing of equipment through to installation and start-up, the level of personal care and service was remarkable. Shirl Lakeway and his staff at Food Technology Corporation are patient and understanding, and are always at our disposal for any assistance. Since we bought the equipment we have had no problems and feel very secure knowing that we can count on FTC for their support and service.

Dr Mawele Shamaila, Nestle - USA
http://www.nestleusa.com/

Our experience with FTC has been more than satisfactory, not only for the quality of the equipment you’ve got but for the post selling service that has proved to be excellent.

Any problem that we had, it took nothing more than a simple mail or phone call to have your immediate answer. We want to thank you very much for the quality of service provided.

 

 

Gonzalo Moraes, Arrozur S.A. Montevideo – Uruguay