Abstract: A stable, oil-based spread rich in the omega-3 (ω-3) and omega-6 (ω-6) fatty acids was developed using a hull-less pumpkin seed (Cucurbita pepo L.) oil press-cake, a by-product of the pumpkin oil pressing process, along with cold-pressed hemp oil. Response surface methodology (RSM) was applied to investigate the effects of two factors, as the formulation's compositional variables: a commercial stabilizer (X1) and cold-pressed hemp oil (X2) added to the pumpkin seed oil press-cake in the spread formulations. A central composite, 2-factorial experimental design on 5 levels was used to optimize the spreads where model responses were ω-3 fatty acids content, spreadability (hardness), oil separation, and sensory evaluation. The selected responses were significantly affected by both variables (P < 0.05). The spreads resembled commercial peanut butter, both in appearance, texture and spreadability; were a source of ω-3 fatty acids and with no visual oil separation after 1 mo of storage. An optimum spread was produced using 1.25% (w/w) of stabilizer and 80% of hemp oil (w/w, of the total added oil) which had 0.97 g of ω-3 fatty acids per serving size; penetration depth of 68.4 mm; oil separation of 9.2% after 3 mo of storage; and a sensory score of 17.5.
Practical Application: A use of by-products generated from different food processing technologies, where the edible waste is successfully incorporated as a value-added ingredient, has become a very important area of research to support global sustainability efforts. This study contributes to the knowledge of a product design process for oil-based spread development, where oil press-cake, a by-product of the oil pressing process of the naked pumpkin seeds, was used and where results have demonstrated that a new product can be successfully developed and potentially manufactured as a functional food.