Consumer demand for ready-to-eat-products has stimulated the development of new processing techniques to prepare fresh-cut fruit and vegetables. The aim of this study was to propose a peeling method for 'Pera' oranges (Citrus sinensis [L.] Osb.) by using a hydrothermal treatment and to determine its influence on the respiratory activity, physicochemical and sensorial characteristics, as well as on the peeling time. Cooled oranges (6ºC) were immersed in heated water (50ºC) for eight minutes and then, peeled and stored at 6ºC. The internal fruit temperatures taken at 1 and 3 cm depths (from fruit surface) were 15ºC and 10ºC, respectively, at the end of the hydrothermal treatment. Non-hydrothermally-treated peeled oranges were used as control. The peeling time for treated oranges was 3.2 times as short as the time used for the control. The yield of marketable oranges was 95% for hydrothermally-treated oranges versus 60% for control. The respiratory activity of hydrothermally-treated oranges was greater than that of control oranges only during the first hour after peeling. The hydrothermal treatment influenced neither the physicochemical quality (given by soluble solids, titratable acidity and ascorbic acid content) nor fruit flavor. Oranges peeled with the aid of the hydrothermal treatment had better appearance. The hydrothermal treatment makes the peeling of oranges easier and does not affect their respiratory activity or their physicochemical and sensorial qualities.
Citrus sinensis; fresh-cut; temperature