Lesson 2 Glossary

Aroma

Aroma is a sensory perception based on one's alfactory senses; i.e., sense of smell. The aroma of foods is based upon many different compounds and, like flavor, sometimes will tell us our preference for a certain food item. Aroma can also tell us if a food item such as milk is beginning to spoil.

Carbohydrate

A major component of cereals, grains and vegetables. Composed of glucose units (6 carbon sugars), it is found mainly in the starch component of cereal grains.

Color

Colors of food products are based on different types of naturally occurring compounds. For example, the green in green beans is from chlorophyll and the red in tomatoes is from a class of color compounds called cartinoids.

Emulsifier

A compound like lecithin that has the physio-chemical property of binding both water or an aqueous food component with an oil or fat to create a non-separating mono-phasic product. Generally emulsifiers can also be used to improve the smoothness (texture) of many food products.

Emulsion

A food emulsion is created when oil and water are rapidly mixed in the presence of a food emulsifier. A natural food emulsifier is contained in egg yolk and is called lecithin. Lecithin can be added to vinegar and oil, creating a creamy non-separable salad dressing or it can be used to create a non-separable peanut butter product. Emulsifiers are used in many food products such as ice cream, instant gravies, peanut butter, cake and cookie mixes, salad dressings and beverages.

Fat (Oil)

A component in foods in the form of triglycerides. The triglycerides are composed of fatty acids that can be saturated or unsaturated. Muscle foods such as beef, pork and lamb generally contain higher amounts of saturated fatty acids, which have been implicated in heart disease. Fatty acids found in vegetable sources such as corn, soybean, and peanuts generally are higher in unsaturated content. Generally, saturated fats such as those in lard, are solid at room temperature, and unsaturated fats, found in corn oil or peanut oil, are liquid at room temperature.

Fiber

This is a form of carbohydrate not digestible by humans. For example, the bran of the wheat kernel contains high amounts of fiber. Fiber is usually in the form of cellulose and/or hemi-cellulose and is a major component of grains, fruits, vegetables and oil seeds in their hulls.

Flavor

Flavor is an acquired sensory characteristic of all food products. We base our food preferences on how a food item will taste. Food flavors are very complex and many compounds together will give a certain flavor. For example, the flavor of brewed coffee contains more than 1,000 different flavor compounds, which, all taken together, give a classical coffee flavor.

Protein

A component in foods, made up of amino acids: A very large molecule that is required by humans for proper growth and maintenance.

Sugar

Commonly referred to as sucrose (table sugar), it is a di-saccaride composed of glucose and fructose. Sugars can exist in foods as simple sugars and di-saccaride. Another example would be lactose found in milk. It is also a di-saccaride composed of glucose and galactose.

Texture

Another sensory characteristic of food products. Texture is based on physical properties of food products such as smooth, crunchy, tender, tough, etc. Texture is another tool used in the sensory evaluation of foods.