Rehydration kinetics by two modes of imbibition is studied in pieces of freeze-dried winter carrot, after different thermal pre-treatments. Water ingress at room temperature is measured in real time by in situ MRI and NMR relaxometry. Blanched samples rehydrate substantially faster compared to non-blanched samples, independent of their porous microstructure. It is proposed that for non-blanched tissues immobilized sugars result in nearly complete swelling of the solid matrix, hindering the ingress of water through the porous network. Nonblanched carrot pieces frozen at-28 °C rehydrate faster compared to those frozen at-150 °C, due to blocking of smaller pores by swelling. In blanched tissues themobilization of sugars results in amore homogeneous Sugar distribution, leading to less swelling of the solid matrix and allowing fast ingress of water via capillary suction. Industrial relevance: The dried fruits and vegetables that are currently available on the market are a poor compromise between convenience (rehydration kinetics) and sensorial quality. This is a major bottleneck for consumers to “Make the Healthy Choice the Easy Choice” and this also negatively impacts market growth. Currently, rational optimization of drying processes is impeded by lack of insight which structural features determine rehydration kinetics (convenience) and texture (sensorial quality) upon rehydration. We therefore started a program to quantitatively assess and model microstructural features and rehydration behavior of freeze-dried carrots as a model system.
Vergeldt, F. J., van Dalen, G., Duijster, A. J., Voda, A., Khalloufi, S., van Vliet, L. J., van As, H., van Duynhoven, J. P. M., & van der Sman, R. G. M. (2014). Rehydration kinetics of freeze-dried carrots. Innovative Food Science and Emerging Technologies, 24, 40-47. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ifset.2013.12.002