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< prev - next > Food processing Pickles and vinegars KnO 100279_Pickled papaya (Printable PDF)
This pickle is more like a chutney since it is prepared by adding sugar, vinegar and salt to the
fruits, followed by boiling which reduces the water content and increases the total soluble solids.
The final product is a thick, slightly acidic spicy fruit preserve. Green papaya is required to make
the pickle. The time of harvest of green papaya is crucial to the success of the pickle. It should
be green and very firm and harvested before the fruit begins to ripen. Once the papaya starts to
ripen the acidity decreases and the flesh becomes too soft. However, if it is harvested too early
the pickle will have a bitter milky flavour. The yield of usable fruit from whole green papaya is
approximately 70%.
Preservation principles
The acetic acid (vinegar) stops the pickle deteriorating once the jar has been opened. The
amount of acetic acid required in the recipe can be calculated using the following formula,
known as the preservation index. Acetic acid is used instead of vinegar because it is much
Total acidity x 100 = preservation index (should be no less than 3.6%)
(100 - total solids)
Reference: Pearson (1976). The Chemical Analysis of Foods 7th edition Churchill Livingstone.
When making vinegar-based chutneys and pickles, it is essential that the preservation index is
above 3.6. This helps to ensure that there is the correct balance of acidity and total solids
(sugars) to preserve the pickle and give it a reasonable shelf life. However, the formula does not
work for pickles with a sugar content above 55% total solids. For this recipe the total solids are
approximately 60% so the formula cannot be applied. Pickles with a higher sugar content
produce a sweeter product than those that have a higher vinegar content. The sugar has a
preserving effect as in a jam.
The product can he packed in glass jars or polythene bags (at least 100 micron, preferably a
thicker gauge) for smaller quantities. Polythene bags are a cheap form of packaging that can be
made into various sizes, which is useful for marketing to different consumer groups. However,
polythene is not a very good barrier for containing aromas, which can attract insects which will
eat through the polythene and spoil the product.
This technical brief should be read together with the brief ‘Pickles and chutneys’ which gives an
overview of the process and the quality assurance points. As with all products, it is important to
carry out a market and technical feasibility study before starting production.
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