The demand for processed tropical fruit products is on the rise in both domestic and international markets. However, the number of commercially processed fruits is limited to fewer than 15. Because these fruits are seasonal and perishable, their surpluses in different regions often go to waste due to inadequate handling, distribution, marketing, and storage facilities. This results in postharvest losses of around 30-35%, according to the National Horticultural Board. To minimize these losses, excess fruits require immediate processing into value-added products. Fruit beverages are a popular processed food product that appeals to all age groups and can help meet the daily nutrient requirements of a healthy diet. The bael fruit is gaining importance in functional food production and has economic significance. Although the pulp is typically consumed fresh, the juice extracted from bael fruit is rich in bioactive compounds, such as carotenoids, phenols, alkaloids, coumarins, flavonoids, terpenoids, and other antioxidants.
Therefore, in order to promote the health benefits of bael fruit and develop new value-added products a study was undertaken at ICAR-IIHR to optimize the process conditions for the preparation of a Ready-To-Serve (RTS) beverage made from bael fruit and to evaluate the physicochemical and sensory characteristics during storage. A range of pulp and sugar concentrations, including 10%, 15%, and 20% pulp and 10ºB and 15ºB TSS, were used to develop the RTS beverage. The formulation with 15% pulp and 15ºB was found to be the best, with a pH of 3.23, acidity of 0.38%, ascorbic acid content of 37.60 mg/100g, total sugar content of 23.54%, and total antioxidant activity of 84.52 mg AEAC/100ml. This combination also had the highest overall acceptability (7.7) on a 9-point Hedonic scale, along with high ratings for color (7.60), flavor (7.30), taste (7.6), and body (7.10). Overall, there is significant potential for the commercialization of bael fruit, and with the right investments and support, the bael tree can be uplifted from an underutilized crop to a profitable commercial crop.
Further Reading: https://jhs.iihr.res.in/index.php/jhs/article/view/1297/626
Authors: Udayakumar K.P, Kanupriya Chaturvedi, Swamy G.S.K, Anuradha Sane, Pritee Singh and Suresh G.J., ICAR-IIHR, Bengaluru
Cite this article as: Udayakumar K.P, Kanupriya Chaturvedi, Swamy G.S.K, Anuradha Sane, Pritee Singh and Suresh G.J. , “Refreshing and nutritious: antioxidant-rich ready to serve bael juice – perfect for a healthy lifestyle,” in National Horticulture Fair 2023, Feb. 22-25, 2023. https://nhf2023.iihr.res.in/refreshing-and-nutritious-antioxidant-rich-ready-to-serve-bael-juice-perfect-for-a-healthy-lifestyle/