EFFECT OF SMOKING AND OVEN-DRYING ON SHELF STABILITY AND SENSORY PROPERTIES OF ATLANTIC MACKEREL FISH FILLETS (SCOMBOROMORUS SCOMBRUS)
The work was carried out to determine the effectiveness of smoking and oven drying on the shelf stability and sensory characteristics of Atlantic mackerel fish fillets during storage. In the study, mackerel fish was eviscerated and cut into fillets, weighed and measured, cleaned and dipped in 75% saturated brine for 1 minute. It was smoked at a temperature of 60-70oC for 4hours. Products were then divided into four (4) batches after smoking and cooling. One batch was kept at room temperature as control while the remaining 3 batches were oven dried at 70-80oC for 1hour, 2hours and 3hours respectively. The smoked and dried fish fillets were later stored at room temperature including the control (sample A) for 21days and were analyzed for physical, chemical, microbial and sensory qualities. Result indicated that moisture content and water activity of the products decreased as storage period increased. The thiobartituric acid (TBA) value and peroxide value increased during storage and decreased with drying time. It was noticed that the mould count increased with storage period but decreased with drying time and the same was also applicable to the total viable count. The sensory evaluation studies showed a significant difference (p<0.05) within samples in respect of appearance, flavour, tastes, saltiness and colours. The result of the sensory evaluation at the later storage days gave a general preference for the 3hours oven drying sample. Based on the result obtained from the treatments a drying period of three (3) hours was recommended. This was because this treatment (sample D) gave a product with the best general acceptability and also gave a product of low moisture content, low water activity and was more shelf stable.