Juice Blends—A Way of Utilization of Under-Utilized Fruits, Vegetables, and Spices: A Review
The post-harvest shelf life of maximum of fruits and vegetables is very limited due to their perishable nature. In India more then 20–25 percent of fruits and vegetables are spoiled before utilization. Despite being the world's second largest producer of fruits and vegetables, in India only 1.5 percent of the total fruits and vegetables produced are processed. Maximum amounts of fruit and vegetable juices turn bitter after extraction due to conversion of chemical compounds. In spite of being under utilized, the utilization of highly nutritive fruits and vegetables is very limited due to high acidity, astringency, bitterness, and some other factors. While improving flavor, palatability, and nutritive and medicinal value of various fruit juices such as aonla, mango, papaya, pineapple, citrus, ber, pear, apple, watermelon, and vegetables including bottle gourd, carrot, beet root, bitter gourd, medicinal plants like aloe vera and spices can also be used for juice blending. All these natural products are valued very highly for their refreshing juice, nutritional value, pleasant flavor, and medicinal properties. Fruits and vegetables are also a rich source of sugars, vitamins, and minerals. However, some fruits and vegetables have an off flavor and bitterness although they are an excellent source of vitamins, enzymes, and minerals. Therefore, blending of two or more fruit and vegetable juices with spices extract for the preparation of nutritive ready-to-serve (RTS), beverages is thought to be a convenient and economic alternative for utilization of these fruits and vegetables. Moreover, one could think of a new product development through blending in the form of a natural health drink, which may also serve as an appetizer. The present review focuses on the blending of fruits, under-utilized fruits, vegetables, medicinal plants, and spices in appropriate proportions for the preparation of natural fruit and vegetable based nutritive beverages.
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