Pg. 28-30 Preliminary Investigation into the Development of a Dried Litchi Product for the South African Market

As with other agricultural crops, it is important to develop processed litchi products if additional marketing opportunities are to be created. The characteristics of the international processed fruit market and the fresh fruit export orientation of the local industry probably indicate it most sensible to develop a high quality product aimed at the local market. During the 2000/2001 season, a study was launched aimed at identifying appropriate cultivars,
drying conditions and product specifications. The results of the study indicate that, of the presently cultivated varieties, McLean’s Red give rise to a tastier dried product than HLH Mauritius. Of the other cultivars evaluated, Wai Chee and Kwai May Pink showed most potential, Brewster fared intermediate while Haak Yip gave rise to an
inferior product. A drying temperature around 55°C for approximately 3 weeks was found to be most appropriate under South African conditions. The sensory panel found fruit with a moisture content of 20-30% to have a raisin like taste with a soft texture while fruit dried to 5-10% moisture was described as having a dried date appearance with a scented toffee texture and taste. Untreated fruit were found to be agreeable while acid treated fruit was totally
unacceptable to the sensory panel. Dyeing of the fruit was ineffective, except when used in combination with SO2. The latter combination was highly sought after by panelists. Based on this preliminary study, it would seem that it is quite possible to develop an up-market dried litchi product. It will, however, be necessary to develop appropriate packaging. It is proposed that this aspect and other marketing related issues be addressed during the coming season.

Powered by BetterDocs