CHARACTERISTICS OF TRADITIONAL SNACKS PRODUCED FROM Citrullus vulgaris S, Glycine max L, Arachis hypogea L AND Sclerotium tuberygii

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Snack foods are an integral part of the diet and have been, over a period of time, commercially exploited on a wide scale. Increasing awareness amongst the consuming public demands the production of high protein, cost effective, convenient and highly acceptable snacks.

Meals are everyday eating events structured by the frequency of food consumption, by food items appropriate to a meal and even by the order of dishes in the menu (Douglas and Gross, 1981; Mäkelä, 2000; Poulain, 2002). Eating events have typically been categorized as either main meals (structured meals) or snacks (unstructured eating events between meals). These categories have been used in both cultural (Mäkelä, 2000) and nutritional studies (Kearney et al., 2001; Poulain, 2002). However, snacks are becoming increasingly popular (Poulain, 2002; Devine et al., 2003) and may be added to the diet or consumed in place of traditional meals (Bellisle et al., 1997; Poulain, 2002). The concept of snacks is complex; it may comprise confectionery items or beverages only (Andersson and Rössner, 1996), “a snacking food” (like chips) or even light meals (Poulain, 2002; Chamontin et al., 2003).

The term “snack” or “snack food” is difficult to define or categorize. The dictionary meaning of snack is a “tit bit” which is a small meal in the broadest sense (Macrae, 1993). Snacking can be described as the problem-free consumption of easy-to-handle, miniature-portioned, hot or cold products in solid or liquid form, which need little or no preparation and are intended to satisfy the occasional “pang” of hunger. Thus snacks should be convenient and in manageable portions and they should satisfy short-term hunger (Macrae, 1993).The Federal Department of Rural Development in her book “Recipes for Commonly Eaten Meals in Nigeria” FMARD (2006), defined snacks as small meals eaten between main meals, and states further that a good snack is nutrient dense and each bite contributes to the nutrient intake of healthy individuals.

Snacks include sandwiches made with fresh bread or toasted bread accompanied with potato or vegetable crisps and a little salad, rolls, baps, French bread, croissants, pitta bread, cut through and filled with a variety of fillings (Foskett et al., 2004). Traditional snacks such as “okpa”, “moin-moin”, “akara”, melon snack, “agidi”, etc. are produced from legumes and cereals using different processing methods like steaming, frying, baking, drying, etc. Melon snack is a traditional snack made from melon, ground yeast and other minor ingredients.

Variation in nutrient contents of melon, soybean and groundnut (especially with regards to lysine and methionine), price and functional properties necessitated the combination of these local seeds to produce traditional snack with a more balanced nutrient that is more affordable to the low income earners in Nigeria.

Objective of study

The general objective of study was to produce melon snack (Ikpan) with a combination of different legumes.

Specific objectives

The specific objectives were:

  • Producing melon snack using the conventional method in which melon and ground yeast served as the main ingredients, and determining the best combination of melon and ground yeast in the snack.
  • Determining the effect of replacing melon with soybean and groundnut on the quality of the snack.
  • Determining the effects of quantity of processing water and cooking time on the hardness and compressive strength of the cake, and quality characteristics of the snack.
  • Analysing the effect of processing on the chemical composition of the snack.