IN a world where food allergies appear to be on the increase, “young corn ear” powder is proving a nutritious alternative baking ingredient.
Professor Wan Rosli Wan Ishak from the School of Health Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia has been investigating how young corn ear (YCE) powder enhances the nutritional composition of bakery products, while also lowering their glycemic index rating.
YCE is a vegetable commonly found in Asian cuisine. It contains many essential vitamins and minerals as well as being high in dietary fibre.
Essentially, it looks like miniature corn. Its ability to be ground into a powder opens it up to other uses, which Professor Ishak has been investigating.
His study has involved looking at the effects of partial substitution of wheat flour with YCE powder within biscuits, muffins and cake.
The experiment involved replacing wheat flower with YCE powder at concentrations of 10, 20 and 30 per cent.
He said the protein and dietary fibre contents of biscuits and cake with YCE powder were increased in line with the levels of YCE used.
In sensory evaluations, respondents indicated an open acceptance to the taste of those products containing the YCE.
“Interestingly, the addition of YCE at 10pc to partially replace wheat flour resulted in reduction of postprandial blood glucose response,” Professor Ishak said.
The GI values for both biscuit and chiffon cake added with YCE were 46 and 49, respectively.
These values were significantly lower than the control biscuits and cakes which recorded GI values at 61 and 59, respectively.
The research is part of a trend of horticulture crops looking to think differently about existing products in order to open up new revenue streams.
In Australia, a banana-growing couple is currently looking to establish a banana flour factory in north Queensland.
The patented Mt Uncle Green Banana Flour is made from green Australian lady finger bananas.
The flour is gluten free, one of the richest sources of resistance starch in the world, high in potassium, magnesium, dietary fibre and Vitamin E.