Fresh agricultural produce is inherently perishable, and substantial losses - ranging from slight loss of quality to total spoilage - are incurred during production, processing, and distribution. The causes of these losses include physical damage during handling and transport, physiological decay, or simply surpluses in the marketplace. Food processing and preservation play major roles in reducing food loss and wastage. Here, at various sites (Tayabas, Candelaria, and Dolores, in Quezon Province, the Philippines), we identified selected indigenous and underutilized crops, namely saba banana (Musa acuminata×balbisiana, ABB group, ‘Saba’), white corn (Zea mays L.), and sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas L.), for possible product development. These crops were processed into flours, which were consequently used to make bread or muffins. In the course of performing these product development experiments we also characterized the physicochemical and sensory properties of the flours. Generally, up to 50% substitution of APF with saba or sweet potato flour and up to 25% substitution with MCF and 100% substitution with MSCF was acceptable in the food products tested. Indigenous and underutilized crops should be explored for their processing possibilities. Processing of these raw materials makes them shelf-stable, prevents losses and wastes and could eventually increase their market value. Development of food products and optimization of processing technology are effective channels for promoting underutilized crops as alternative food sources. These measures may encourage local farmers in the study areas to expand their production of these crops, not only as additional sources of income but also for their own subsistence.
2017 by Agricultural and Forestry Research Center, University of Tsukuba