Analysis of Freekeh Aroma, Sensory-perception and Preparation Methods
Freekeh (Arabic, ‘rubbed’) is an ancient wheat product with a unique preparation method and flavor profile. It is essentially immature durum wheat (Triticum turgidum) grains, harvested while plants are green and the seeds are soft. The plants are stacked and then set on fire (usually in situ) to rid of stalks, awns and leaves. Bushels are then threshed, grains separated from the chaff, dried and cracked. The production process lends a smoky, complex aroma to the finished product, described as nutty, earthy and smoky. Compared to dried mature Durum Freekeh is richer in fiber, protein, sugars and Mn and has a low glycemic index. Timing of harvest determines much of the quality, since protein, fiber and antioxidants decrease while phytate levels increase in parallel to seed maturation. Additionally, sugars are converted into starch as the grains fill, making seeds that are in the milk-ripe to mid-dough-ripe stages optimal. Worldwide production is rising (>300K ton/yr), demand in western country increases and it is also used in Haute Cuisine. Although its popularity, Freekeh has not been studied for its aroma/flavor profiles. I believe this product could serve as an interesting model for both basic and applicable research that has been, to date, underrepresented in food science. I propose to:
a. Investigate the aroma/flavor profiles of Freekeh (e.g. volatile compounds, sugars and organic acids). Special focus will be given to compounds imparting its smoky attributes and their precursors.
b. Analyze the sensory perception of consuming Freekeh dishes and to evaluate its consumer acceptability.
c. Test the production method of Freekeh by utilizing common cereals (Rye, Barley, Spelt) or by adding different smoke sources.
d. Evaluating the use of Freekeh in modern cuisine.
Fields of science
- natural scienceschemical sciencesorganic chemistryorganic acids
- engineering and technologymaterials engineeringfibers
- natural sciencesbiological sciencesbiochemistrybiomoleculesproteins
- social scienceseconomics and businesseconomicsproduction economics
- agricultural sciencesagriculture, forestry, and fisheriesagriculturegrains and oilseedscereals
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