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Fruit acidulants, postharvest loss, paneer, shelf life, sensory evaluation
Paneer is an unripened soft cheese mainly used by Indians and Pakistans, and it does not require the rennet enzyme. It is prepared by coagulating heated milk with acid. However, fresh paneer has a short shelf life of up to 2 days at ambient temperature. In this study, paneer was prepared from lemon and amla fruit acidulants and stored at room and refrigeration temperatures. Then, the paneer samples were analysed for their physicochemical properties, texture profile, microbiological counts and sensory attributes during storage at room and refrigeration temperatures. The type of acidulant, storage temperature and time significantly affected the paneer's physicochemical properties (p<0.05). However, the changes were rapid in samples stored at room temperature. Moreover, paneer coagulated using fruit acidulants had a higher shelf life and retention of functional properties. Furthermore, the paneer from fruit acidulants had high acceptability, comparable to the control, usually made from citric acid. Therefore, preparing paneer from fruit acidulants with improved functionality, shelf life, and acceptability is possible. Thus, adapting the technology of making paneer with acidulant fruits would reduce milk and fruit postharvest loss, promote a sustainable diet and create market potential for the novel milk product in India and the world at large.