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Thermal Gelation of Previously Cooked Minced Meat from Jonah Crab (Cancer borealis)



ABSTRACT:  Crab processing typically involves picking meat from whole cooked product. Remaining meat can be recovered as mince and potentially processed into value-added products. This study focused on gelation of commercially processed crab mince. Objectives of the research were to determine the effects of cryoprotectants, freezing, and various heat treatments on gel formation of washed mince from previously cooked crab. Previously frozen minced meat from thermally processed Jonah crab was washed to remove soluble components. Four different treatments were applied to the washed mince: (1) freezing with cryoprotectants, (2) freezing with no cryoprotectants, (3) no freezing with cryoprotectants, and (4) no freezing with no cryoprotectants. Unwashed mince was used as a control treatment. Sodium chloride (2.5%) was mixed into the mince prior to stuffing into sausage casings and heating at 35 °C/30 min, 90 °C/30 min, or 35 °C/30 min followed by 90 °C/30 min. Gels were tested for proximate composition, color, water-holding capacity, and gel strength. All mince samples formed gels except for the unwashed control. Gels with no cryoprotectants had 10% to 20% greater water holding capacity, lower L* values, and greater gel strength than those with cryoprotectants. Freezing of washed mince resulted in lower water-holding capacity of gels and higher a* values. A 2-stage heating treatment resulted in gels with the greatest gel strength, whereas gels cooked at 35 °C had the greatest distance to fracture. Results indicate that protein gels can be formed using previously cooked crab meat, which may be useful in the development of value-added products.