Background: Consumer preferences for boiled or fried pieces of roots, tubers and bananas (RTBs) foodstuffs are mainly related to their texture. Different raw and cooked RTBs were physiochemically characterised to determine the effect of biochemical components on their cooking properties.
Results: Firmness in boiled sweetpotato increases with sugar and amylose contents but no significant correlation was observed between other physicochemical characteristics and cooking behaviour. Hardness of boiled yam can be predicted by dry matter (DM) and galacturonic acid (GalA) levels. For cassava, no significant correlation was found between textural properties of boiled roots and DM, but amylose and Ca2+ content were correlated with firmness, negatively and positively, respectively. Water absorption of cassava root pieces boiled in calcium chloride solutions was much lower, providing indirect evidence that pectins are involved in determining cooking quality. A highly positive correlation between textural attributes and DM was observed for fried plantain, but no significant correlation was found with GalA, although frying slightly reduced GalA.
Conclusion: The effect of main components on texture after cooking differs for the various RTBs. The effect of global DM and major components (i.e., starch, amylose) is prominent for yam, plantain and sweetpotato. Pectins also play an important role on the texture of boiled yam and play a prominent role for cassava through interaction with Ca2+.