Penipol or "candied coconut" made from coconut and sugar, is used as a sweet filler in traditional food preparations in Sri Lanka. A ready-to-serve, preserved Penipol is likely to have a good demand among both local urban consumers and Sri Lankan communities overseas. The main objective of this study was to develop a simple technique to produce a bottled Penipol with an extended shelf life, in order to exploit this perceived demand.
In a preliminary trial it was established that a Penipol product, acceptable to consumer in terms of colour, taste and texture, was derived from a blend of coconut and sugar in the ratio of 2.5:2.0. This blend with added Vitamin E (80 ppm), salt, spices was used to prepare Penipol for the studies on Pasteurization and storage, and the physico-chemical analyses. This product contained 3.58% protein, 20.78% fat, 7.00% fiber and 0.83% minerals and its water activity, pH and total soluble solids were 0.8, 5.5 and 65°, respectively.
Penipol, bottled in jars, was pasteurized in boiling water. Five heat treatments (boiled for 15, 30, 45, 60 minutes and no heat treatment) were tested. Microbial analysis of the Penipol, stored for one month, showed that pasteurizing for 30 minutes was adequate to prevent microbial growth and achieve commercial sterility. The keeping quality of bottled Penipol, pasteurized for 30 min., was studied by conducting sensory evaluations, at 3-monthly intervals, over a 12 months storage period. Statistical analysis showed that there is no significant difference in sensory properties between freshly prepared and preserved Penipol throughout the studied period. The free fatty acid levels remained unchanged at 0.05+/-0.02 (as % of lauric acid). Results indicated that Penipol can be preserved for at least 12 months by applying a simple bottling technique with 30 min. pasteurization in boiling water.