BACKGROUND: This study was conducted to determine the chemical and microbial stability of high moisture (HM) dried apricots during storage at 5, 20 and 30 °C for a period of 8 months. HM dried apricots were obtained by rehydrating dried apricots in ‘water’ and ‘water + H2O2’.
RESULTS: Analysis of kinetic data suggested first-order models for loss of SO2 and non-enzymatic browning reactions. Higher storage temperatures increased the rate of SO2 loss and formation of brown colour in HM dried apricots. Results from extensive colour measurements (non-enzymatic browning, reflectance colour and β-carotene) revealed that the colour of HM dried apricots stored at 5 °C was almost unchanged during 8 months of storage. The colour of samples stored at 30 °C was unacceptable starting from 2 months of storage. Total mesophilic aerobic bacteria counts decreased 0.7, 1.1 and 1.5 log cycles after 8 months of storage at 5, 20 and 30 °C, respectively. For the same storage period, the decrease in mesophilic bacteria was 0.62 log cycle in samples rehydrated in ‘water + H2O2’ and stored at 20 °C.
CONCLUSION: These results suggest that HM dried apricots should be stored at temperatures lower than 20 °C to preserve the characteristic golden yellow colour. A relatively low level of SO2 (1458 mg kg−1 at 200 g kg−1 moisture level) was sufficient to prevent the growth of spoilage organisms in HM dried apricots at all three storage temperatures. Copyright © 2008 Society of Chemical Industry