When we think of citrus peels, appetizing isn’t the first word that comes to mind, but what some may not know is that this underrated outer layer of fruit and vegetables is rich in nutrients and antioxidants.
A new study published on Frontiers in Nutrition discovered adding 2 percent of citrus fiber to whole wheat durum flour can enhance bread’s fiber count while also advancing its shelf life.
After testing multiple fruit fibers such as grapefruit, lemon and oranges, the study found citrus fiber from blood oranges and lemons had the most impact on increasing the durum wheat nutrition profile in semolina bread, without harming the flavor or texture.
According to the research, both citrus peels added an additional fiber count of 6 percent to semolina bread, the minimum dose required by the EU to label a product high in fiber.
Semolina bread derives from durum wheat and has higher stamina to citrus peels than other common whole wheat bread when it comes to sustaining its, volume, weight, flavor and crumb structure. This is due to the durum flours bulker and lighter texture.
Furthermore, durum flour baked with lemon and blood orange fiber withstood a substantial shelf life of 120 days with zero traces of mold or spoilage.
“This is the first time that microbiological data on industrial bread enriched with fiber have been reported after a long storage period,” the study said.
Not only do these findings demonstrate that citrus fiber can be used as a natural preservative, but it also can be used as an upcycled ingredient in an industry where fruit pomace and peels are susceptible to food waste.
According to the study, in Sicily, the citrus industry outputs around five-hundred-thousand tons of citrus pulp a year, which can be cleaned and reused as a rich source of fiber for the bread industry.
Fiber has been emphasized by dietary professionals and nutritionist for its health benefits such as reducing type 2 diabetes, chances of high blood pressure and cardiovascular cancers.
Bread is a common food item that is enjoyed by the majority of the world’s population, as a result, citrus fiber can be used as a key nutrient to enhances consumers everyday diets. The bread industry also provides a solution for long-term food security by minimizing leftover citrus waste.
In addition, functional food items are in high demand making dietary fiber a popular food item for a growing number of health-conscious consumers. As health-based diet trend continues to dominate, citrus bread looks to have a prosperous future in the years to come.