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If you want to enjoy the full aroma spectrum of an apple, chew it slowly and consciously – say scientists at the Swiss research institute Agroscope. Thirteen volunteers first underwent tests to check how they reacted to taste sensations and were then given intensive taste training. Finally they were allowed to taste four sorts of apple (Galiwa, Natyra, Gala and Scifresh).

The longer the better

The aim was to analyse how the length of time spent chewing affected the way the aromas developed. Taste perception is a dynamic process. When you take a bite of an apple, it gets chewed small, warmed to body temperature as you chew and partially broken down by enzymes in your saliva. The process might not sound very attractive, but it’s what gradually releases the diverse aromas in the apple.

For the trial, the researchers cut each apple into ten equal-sized chunks. Testers were told to chew in time with a metronome so as to achieve comparable results. Each tester chewed their pieces of apple at a rate of 63 chews a minute. They were asked to keep on chewing until they could taste nothing more.

Chew slowly for the full taste experience

In general, full sensory perception of all the flavours an apple has to offer only set in after a tester had chewed for 70 seconds. As they chewed testers reported a changing aroma profile, different for each sort of apple. Take a bite of a Scifresh apple and during the first twenty seconds you’ll experience “fruity, lemon” flavours, later these will mutate to “green, grassy”. A Galiwa, on the other hand starts off “tropical” and then turns into “ripe, fruity”. Choose a Gala apple and you’ll find that “ripe, fruity” predominates for a relatively long time; only after about 50 seconds did the testers report “spicy” overtones.

“Eat your apple slowly, if you want to enjoy the full flavour,” is the advice of the Swiss researchers. With all four sorts of apple, the spicy flavour was the last to be perceived. The explanation could be that these flavour components are in the skin, which is only ground up towards the end of the chewing process.


Source: Heike Kreutz, www.aid.de