• ham;
  • residual nitrate;
  • residual nitrite;
  • uncured;
  • vegetable juice powder

ABSTRACT:  Vegetable juice powder (VJP) and a starter culture containing Staphylococcus carnosus have been identified as necessary ingredients for the manufacture of uncured, no-nitrate/nitrite-added meat products with quality and sensory attributes similar to traditional cured products. The objectives of this study were to determine the effects of varying concentrations of VJP and incubation time (MIN-HOLD) on quality characteristics, including lipid oxidation, color, and cured meat pigment concentrations, of ham over a 90-d storage period, compare residual nitrate and nitrite content, and determine if differences exist in sensory properties of finished products. Four ham treatments (TRT) (TRT 1: 0.20% VJP, 0 MIN-HOLD; TRT 2: 0.20% VJP, 120 MIN-HOLD; TRT 3: 0.35% VJP, 0 MIN-HOLD; TRT 4: 0.35% VJP, 120 MIN-HOLD) and a sodium nitrite-added control (C) were used for this study. No differences (P > 0.05) were observed between TRTs and C for CIE L*, a*, b*, and cured color measured by reflectance ratio. Lipid oxidation (TBARS) for combined TRTs and C revealed little change over time while the C had less (P < 0.05) lipid oxidation than TRTs 2 and 4 for combined days. No differences (P > 0.05) were reported for cured pigment concentration between TRTs and C. Trained sensory panel intensity ratings for ham and vegetable aroma, and flavor, color, and firmness showed that a high concentration (0.35%) of VJP resulted in the highest scores for undesirable vegetable aroma and flavor. Treatment combinations with a low concentration (0.20%) of VJP were comparable to the C for all sensory attributes.