EFFECTS OF CURING METHODS ON QUALITY OF HOT SMOKED FISH (SARDINA PILCHARDUS)
Fish are often prone to spoilage because of its high nutrient content which supports the growth of pathogens. Processing methods could influence the quality of smoked fish. This study examined the effect of using different pretreatments on the quality of smoked sardine fish. Fish samples were cured with Brine (A), salt (B), natural spices of nutmeg (C), Clove (D) and commercial yaji (E) prior to hot smoking. The nutrient composition, chemical properties, microbial and sensory qualities were evaluated. Results of proximate composition showed a moisture range of 10.46-13.20%, ash (13.81-17.57%), fat (5.81-9.24%), protein (37.61-46.31%) and carbohydrate (17.81-29.57%). Highest potassium value (14.55 mg/100 g) was recorded in dry salted sample (B) while A had the lowest sodium (10.29 mg/100 g). All fish samples were significantly different (p<0.05) from each other in mineral content. The low pH (5.15-5.40) and TBA values (2.44-2.53 mg MDA/Kg) obtained are indication that rancidity will not easily occur during storage. Bacteria and fungi count were absent in sample B and very low in other fish samples (2.4×103 and 1.8×101 CFU/g) respectively. The fish treated with Yaji and Brine (E) was most preferred in all the sensory attributes. Curing combined with smoke drying improved the quality and acceptance of fish samples.