Chocolate Industry

DoST-ITDI: sweet but healthy snacks made from okra flakes

The process of creating okra flakes. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

THE Department of Science and Technology-Industrial Technology Development Institute (DoST-ITDI), as one of the research and development institutes of DoST, continues to innovate to help elevate local industries , improve their productivity and contribute to the socio-economic growth of the country.

Taking advantage of the abundance of agricultural crops, especially okra or ladyfinger, and the huge volume of off-spec okra pods that are rejected by the export market, DoST-ITDI explored the potential of this raw material to produce okra flakes or leaves by dehydration techniques using drying equipment such as hot plate, oven and dryer.

The flakes or leaves can then be made into nutritious snacks or as an intermediate material for other consumer products like chocolate covered okra chips, baked goods (bread, biscuits, biscuits) and as ingredients for vegetable juice blends, toppings and wrappers. for several food products.

Okra production grew at an average annual rate of 0.9 percent according to Philippines Crop Statistics in 2019. In Tarlac, where okra production is considered a sunny industry, about three to five tons of okra are wasted per day due to out-of-spec specifications. This wastage problem is why farmers and exporters are looking for a way to use and convert these discards into something valuable. Thus, DoST-ITDI explored the potential of processing okra flakes/leaves for use as an intermediate material for other consumer products or as nutritious snacks, and the results were quite promising.

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Okra flakes are produced by sorting okra pods, weighing them, washing them, sanitizing them, blanching them, mashing them and processing them using dehydrating equipment and techniques ITDIs such as hot plate, oven and cabinet drying which are cheaper alternative methods to the expensive drum. – method of drying. Similarly, physicochemical, microbiological and sensory analyzes of the products have also been carried out and completed.