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Okra can Help Preserve Ice Cream

Aug 23, 2014 07:22 AM EDT

Okra can help preserve ice cream, a study suggests.

The popular vegetable, often used in soups and stews, can help save ice cream from going bad.

Quality of ice cream depends on the temperature at which it is stored. Melting and refreezing during transportation, for example, leads to the formation of ice crystals. These crystals change the texture of ice cream and reduce its shelf life. Ice cream makers use stabilizers to lower damaged caused by these crystals of ice, according to a news release.

The study was conducted by researchers at Kasetsart University, Chatuchak, Bangkok, Thailand and their colleagues at Univeristy of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada. The found that water extracts of the okra fiber can be used to preserve quality of ice cream during storage. These natural ingredients can act as an alternate stabilizers in the ice cream industry as well as in other food products.

The study has been published in the Journal of Food Science.

"We have shown that OKW (okra cell wall ) and OKP (water-soluble polysaccharide )  could be used as ice cream stabilizer to retard ice recrystallization and melt down of the ice cream. These naturally extracted stabilizers offer an alternative ingredient for the ice cream industry as well as for other food products," the authors write in the journal.

Okra, a staple of Southern cooking, is also known for its several health benefits. Research has shown that eating okra can lower risk of developing diabetes type-2 as well as lower cardiovascular problems associated with obesity. The vegetable is rich in flavonoids, which help regulate glucose and fat metabolism. 

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