Interest in using undervalued forage fish for human consumption has recently increased due to its environmental benefits. However, feasible strategies to process the undervalued fish species to food use are limited. Therefore, this study investigated the possibility to utilise whole (ungutted) Baltic herring as a raw material for hybrid plant-fish meat analogues produced by high-moisture extrusion cooking. The sample properties were compared with ungutted Baltic herring. Produced meat analogues showed sufficiently high microbial quality, with spoilage microbes showing growth levels of under 1.4 log CFU/g. Whole fish and gutted fish extrudates showed uniform flavour- and odour-related sensory profiles. Colour values of the whole fish (L* 57.8) extrudates were similar to the values of gutted fish extrudates (L* 62.0). The whole and gutted fish extrudates had tensile strength in a cross-cut direction of 25.5 and 46.3 kPa, respectively. This correlated with the tearing force of the extrudates analysed by a trained sensory panel. Furthermore, a more explicit protein network was microscopically observed in gutted fish than in whole fish extrudates. The present study showed that high-moisture extrusion cooking enables the use of whole small-sized fish for human consumption.
- high-moisture extrusion cooking
- whole fish
- underutilised fish
- protein fibrillation
- meat analogue