The effects of heat conditioning (HC) pickling cucumbers in 50C water on sliced refrigerated pickle product texture, white appearance, pectic substances and proteins during storage were examined. Conditioning for 45 and 60 min effectively hindered softening and cure appearance development (CAD) during 12 months of storage. Maintenance of firmness and white appearance of sliced pickles was achieved when cucumbers were processed within 1 h after HC and when processing was delayed for 24 and 48 h after HC. Conditioning cucumbers for 60 min prevented changes in the solubility of pectic substances and proteins in the pickled product mesocarp tissue during storage, while major changes occurred in mesocarp of the control treatment. SDS-PAGE demonstrated the production of low molecular mass proteins in response to HC, and that it enhanced retention of distinct proteins in the refrigerated pickle mesocarp tissue. Retention of pickle product texture and white appearance induced by HC appeared to be associated with stabilization of pectic substances and proteins.

Practical Applications

HC of cucumbers before processing has potential to substantially enhance retention of texture and white appearance of sliced refrigerated pickles during storage and marketing.