Monkey orange (Strychnos sp.), are commonly one of the most preferred indigenous fruits of Southern Africa and particularly in Zimbabwe due to their high economic return (selling between USD$ 0.31 to USD$ 0.63 per fruit), consumer demand and drought resistance. The fruit has high vitamin C, fibre, iron, zinc and are processed to juices, snacks, and jams as well as used to flavour porridges. The traditionally processed products however have a short shelf life and are available a limited time of the year. The problem of preservation, storage and quality products that are available all year round under local rural conditions exists. The design of quality dried monkey orange for subsequent reconstituted by - products as good nutrition source for use throughout the year and in times of seasonal shortages and droughts deserves more effort and attention for exploitation as part of potential food security improvement measure .
The aim of this project is to assess drying methods and storage techniques and their impact on overall quality of monkey orange fruit products and micronutrient bio – accessibility of by-products for application on improvement of local processing in the design of functional products.
A survey will be conducted to determine the state of the art with respect to indigenous processing and quality knowledge of monkey orange fruit and its products .An assessment of a). The impact of different drying techniques on monkey orange product quality will be done b).Options for improvement of processing that fit local conditions will be determined. The impact of species variation on monkey orange fruit and dried product quality will be assessed. Further we intend to improve the nutritional quality and functionality of derived monkey orange by-products as well as determine the bio - accessibility of micronutrients (iron and zinc) of the by-products.
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