Describing the Appearance and Flavor Profiles of Fresh Fig (Ficus carica L.) Cultivars
Article first published online: 21 NOV 2012
© 2012 The Regents of the University of California, Davis Campus Department of Plant Sciences
Journal of Food Science
Volume 77, Issue 12, pages S419–S429, December 2012
How to Cite
King, E. S., Hopfer, H., Haug, M. T., Orsi, J. D., Heymann, H., Crisosto, G. M. and Crisosto, C. H. (2012), Describing the Appearance and Flavor Profiles of Fresh Fig (Ficus carica L.) Cultivars. Journal of Food Science, 77: S419–S429. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2012.02994.x
- Issue published online: 13 DEC 2012
- Article first published online: 21 NOV 2012
- MS 20120977 Submitted 7/18/2012, Accepted 9/11/2012.
- canonical variate analysis;
- fig cultivar;
- fruit maturity;
- sensory analysis
Abstract: Twelve fig cultivars, including cultivars destined for the fresh and dried markets, were harvested from 6 locations and evaluated by a trained panel using descriptive sensory analysis. Instrumental measurements were taken at harvest and also during sensory analysis. Each fresh fig cultivar had a characteristic appearance and flavor sensory profile regardless of the source. The primary flavor attributes used to describe the fig cultivars were “fruity,”“melon,”“stone fruit,”“berry,”“citrus,”“honey,”“green,” and “cucumber.” Maturity levels significantly affected the chemical composition and sensory profiles of the fig cultivars. Less mature figs had a higher compression force, a thicker outer skin, and higher ratings for “green” and “latex” flavors, firmness, graininess, bitterness, tingling, and seed adhesiveness. Meanwhile, more mature figs had higher soluble solids concentration, and were perceptibly higher in “fruit” flavors, juiciness, stickiness, sliminess, and sweetness. The specific sensory terminology used for fig appearance and flavor profiles will assist with communication between marketers and consumers, which can increase fresh fig consumption.
Practical Application: The development of a unique set of descriptors for each fresh fig cultivar allows better communication between fig growers, retailers, and consumers. Consumers who are able to correctly anticipate how a particular fig variety tastes are more likely to be satisfied and purchase more figs. This work also demonstrates the need to develop and select cultivars with high flavor attributes for future fresh fig production.