Can citrus fibre enhance meatballs and burgers?

October 16 2013

Citrus fibre has been shown to be a potentially great way of enhancing the nutritional content of beef dishes such as meatballs and burgers, while also adding an intriguing accent to their flavour.

A US research team at the University of Missouri has been looking into the benefits of introducing citrus powder into ground beef as a means of helping diners get the fibre they need from their diets, while also retaining the quality and taste of the meat.

Led by food science doctoral student Ayca Gedikoglu and associate professor Andrew Clarke, the team recently completed a test involving a new citrus meatball recipe, with three batches being produced with varying percentages of the meat substituted with citrus powder.

It was found that when the citrus fibre levels were kept between one and five per cent, the addition of this ingredient increased the cooking yield of the meatball recipe, while maintaining the texture and colour of the food.

A restaurant-sized serving of citrus containing two per cent citrus powder featured approximately five grams of fibre, which is a nutritional quality that meatballs traditionally lack.

According to Ms Gedikoglu - who will soon be carrying out taste tests using the citrus-enhanced meatballs - this study shows that citrus powder could be used as a replacement for breadcrumbs in meatball recipes, while its tangy flavour could also lend itself well to hamburger recipes.

There are numerous reasons why these citrus-infused beef recipes could appeal to health-conscious consumers who are after the most nutritious foods available. After all, dietary fibre is essential for maintaining a healthy weight, aiding digestion and reducing the risk of diabetes and heart disease, while also helping people to feel full quicker and for a longer period of time.

With recent Technomic research showing the incidence of meatballs on Canadian chain restaurant menus rose by nearly 12 per cent annually in the second quarter of 2013, this study could give food service operators across the country plenty of ideas on how to enhance their cuisine.