Palate cleanser effectiveness in evaluating sweetness, bitterness, and pungency of sweet onions and sensory, chemical, and instrumental techniques
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The effects of four palate cleansers at detecting sweetness, bitterness and pungency in sweet onions were studied. Evaluation of scores for all samples determined the combination of water and unsalted top crackers was the best palate cleanser for detecting sweetness. There were no significant differences between bitterness and pungency of onions indicating none of the palate cleansers studied are ideal for improved detection of either attribute. In a second study 22 sweet onion cultivars were tested for degree of sweetness, pungency and bitterness by 9 judges. These measures were used to develop models from data collected from the same onions using wide-aperture spectrometry. The sensory data were also compared with chemical measures obtained on the same cultivars made during the same season from the same plots. No models from the spectrometric data accurately predicted the sensory scores. No significant correlation was observed between the sensory and chemical measures.