Differing Techniques

As previously stated, ripening temperatures may vary widely, although, as regards traditional technologies, always in the order of those pertaining to the area of production.

Some products are produced at higher drying temperatures (45-48 °C as internal temperatures at end of treatment) so as to give rise to variations in the denaturation of the proteins and to facilitate an increased texture of the product (15). In these conditions, the sensory properties of the finished product are still similar to those of a ripened product, although the preparation times, intended as the time needed for the product to acquire a good consistency, are considerably shorter.

The main differences between these products and the traditional ones undoubtedly have to do with the formation of aromas and to the transformations responsible for conservation under the differing conditions of storage. A careful choice of ingredients allows for the conferring of pleasant aromas and tastes, whereas a higher Aw requires controlled storage temperatures. Raw materials, as well as all technological operations, may contribute to contamination of the product and must therefore be chosen with care; in fact, during the drying phase the internal fraction stays for a certain time (as long as several hours) at temperature values close to those that are ideal for the growth of pathogenic bacteria. It is important to adopt procedures that reduce the initial contamination to a minimum (hygiene measures during processing, the choice of anatomic fractions free of main blood vessels, etc.) and to optimize the heating velocity and the inactivation of the surface microbial flora.

B. Conditioning Plants

As was mentioned above, ripened products remain for long periods of time in locations of varying size in suitable relative humidity, temperature, and air velocity conditions; the conditioning plants play a fundamental role and are responsible for the success or failure of many techniques.

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