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The Impact of Drying and Rehydration on the Structural Properties and Quality Attributes of Pre-Cooked Dried Beans
Journal Contribution - Journal Article
Fresh common beans can be made 'instant' to produce fast-cooking beans by first soaking and cooking the beans before drying to create a shelf-stable product that can be rehydrated at the time of use. This study investigated the interplay between the drying process (air, vacuum and freeze drying), the microstructure and functional attributes of rehydrated pre-cooked beans. The microscopic study revealed that the three different drying techniques resulted in distinctly different microstructures, with the freeze drying process resulting in highly porous materials, while the air- and vacuum-dried samples underwent shrinkage. Additionally, the rehydration behavior (modeled using empirical and diffusion models) demonstrates that the high rehydration rate of freeze-dried beans is due to capillarity, while rehydration, in the case of air- and vacuum-dried beans, is primarily diffusion-controlled. Irrespective of the drying technique, the high rehydration capacity supports little to no structural collapse or damage to the cell walls. The color and texture of the rehydrated beans did not differ greatly from those of freshly cooked beans. The total peak area of the volatiles of rehydrated beans was significantly reduced by the drying process, but volatiles characteristic of the cooked bean aroma were retained. This new understanding is beneficial in tailoring the functional properties of pre-cooked dry convenient beans requiring short preparation times.