PEF applications

PEF can be applied for different purposes. Let’s return to our apple to illustrate this through two examples:

Juice extraction

Photo of a whole apple and a bottle of apple juice

Image by ELEA

After harvesting the apples, they are transported to a manufacturing facility. First they are washed in water and sorted, then crushed or shredded to obtain the apple mash. This mash can then be treated with moderately intense PEF before the pressing step, to increase the extraction yield during pressing. More intense PEF can be applied to the juice after extraction, to kill pathogenic and spoilage microorganisms and increase its shelf life.

Dried apple

Two rings of dried apple, the PEF treated ring looks freshly cut, the ring of untreated apple looks withered and is browning

Image by ELEA

Low intensity PEF can be applied to the entire fruit. This creates pores in the cell walls which allows the water to leak out more quickly leading to faster drying. The resulting apple crisps or dried apple chunks (often added to muesli, for example) have enhanced stability, colour and taste as they’ve not been subjected to harsh drying conditions for a lengthy period.

This image shows the difference between a PEF treated and an untreated dried strawberry.

A comparison between a untreated and PEF treated strawberry. The untreated strawberry is very dry and shriveled

Image by ELEA

This video from EFFoST (the European Federation of Food Processing and Technology) shows the advantages of using PEF in food processing.

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

Now that you’ve found out how PEF works, how would you feel about discovering it had been used to process your food? Which of the benefits it provides is most significant, in your view?

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This article is from the free online course:

How is Food Made? Understanding Processed Food

EIT Food