Sunflower Kernel Confections

July 28/New Delhi, India/Indian Patents News -- Dr. Ram Kishor Gupta, Dr. Alka, Mr. Rajiv Sharma and Dr. Musuvadi Ramarathinam Manikantan of Central Institute of Post Harvest Engineering and Technology, Ludhiana, India, announced the "development of sunflower kernel based confectionery products."

Post Harvest Engineering and Technology filed the patent application; the patent application number is 2405/DEL/2006 A. According to the controller general of Patents, Designs & Trade Marks, "In the health conscious world of today, nutrition helps in selling new food products prepared from novel protein sources, and sunflower is one such potential protein supplement for human diet, mainly due to its superior nutritional quality absence of anti-nutritional factor. When considered in aggregate, the amazing sunflower kernel adds a nutritional wallop to a wide array of products. The sunflower seed (Helianthus anms L) of NSFH-36 variety contains 25.4 % hull with a high fiber and wax contents, which are considered constraints in utilizing sunflower kernels in the preparation of snack foods and other confectionery items.

However, the kernel contains as high as 36% protein and could be used for the preparation of various protein enriched food products at lower cost. Hence, to obtain the kernels, the sunflower seed has to be dehulled. The process of dehulling consists of cleaning, grading and dehulling of seeds with suitable machinery. After dehulling, the dehulled product has to be separated for kernels, hull and unhulled sunflower seeds. Further, kernels could be graded into different fractions, such as whole kernel, broken and fines as per the requirement of the confectionery industry.

The machinery required includes a cleaner-cum-grader, dehuller and separator. Broken kernels obtained by the above process further put in an ASTM shaking screen set to get the uniform size for confectionery product development. The broken kernels sized between 1.168-1.651mm were used for preparation of three sunflower kernel-based confectionery products -- namely sunflower kernel caramel, sunflower-sesame kernel confection Chikki and sunflower kernel ready to eat sweetmeat snack food.

Sunflower kernel caramel snack, a sugar-based sweet containing sunflower kernels, was prepared using different sugar and kernel levels. The caramel prepared using sugar and sunflower kernels in the ratio of 70:30 respectively was appeared to be most acceptable product in sensory evaluation.

Similarly, the sunflower-sesame kernel confection Chikki was improved; the traditional product was prepared utilizing jaggery, sunflower kernel and sesame kernel in different proportions. The revised product was prepared using jaggery, sunflower kernels and sesame kernels in the ratio of 50:35:15, respectively, was found most acceptable.

Likewise, a sunflower kernel ready-to-eat sweetmeat was prepared incorporating sugar, jaggery, sunflower kernels, liquid glucose and honey in the ratio of 32.8:26.2:30.0:4.0:7.0, respectively."

From the August 16, 2010, Prepared Foods E-dition