PROJECT TOPIC- EFFECT THAT DEHYDRATION AND STORAGE HAS ON THE QUALITY OF UNRIPE PLANTAIN CUBES
Plantains of the genus (Musa) are starchy, unsweet variety of banana that are inedible raw but must be cooked before eating (Asiedu, 1980). Most plantains are larger and slightly more angular in shape than sweet banana. Banana plants are monocotyledonous perennial and important crops in the tropical and subtropical world regions (Strosse et al, 2006). They include dessert banana, plantain and cooking bananas.
Dessert bananas are consumed usually as ripe fruit whereas ripe and unripe plantain fruits are usually consumed boiled or fried (Surga et al, 1998). From the nutritional point of view, these fruits are among the green vegetables with the richest iron and other nutrient contents (Aremu and Udoessien , 1990). Plantain is also high in dietary fibres, however these plantains are highly perishable and subjected to fast deterioration as their moisture content and high metabolic activity persist after harvest (Demirel and Turhan, 2003).
Unripe plantain can be consumed as produced or further processed by coating with sweeteners, frying, dehydration or boiling (Demirel and Turhan 2003). Dehydration is one of the oldest methods of food preservation (Adams, 2004) and converting unripe plantain to dried cube forms could contribute to reduce losses and allow the food industry to store the product throughout the year. It is however important to investigate the effect that dehydration and storage has on the quality of unripe plantain cubes.
This work is aimed at achieving the following objectives.
1) To evaluate the proximate composition of dehydrated plantain cubes.
2) To determine the effect of storage time and dehydration on the physicochemical and sensorial quality of the dehydrated cubes and evaluate the product as an ingredient that may guarantee a year round supply thereby encouraging the development of a new product.