Consumer demand for appealing, distinctive, yet all-natural products has led flavor ingredients manufacturers to develop new FTNF (from the named food) natural distillates. With today’s consumers now the driving force behind the flavor industry, research continues into the production of high quality products from completely natural ingredients. Among the increasingly popular fresh flavors, cucumber, melon and watermelon — now used in products ranging from yogurts to flavored alcoholic beverages — are becoming key players in the market.
The quality and success of any fruit flavor begins with the raw material. Fruit picked at exactly the right time and stored in the correct manner should reach manufacturers in peak condition. Herein, we will take a closer look at harvesting, storage and production processes employed to create high quality cucumber, melon and watermelon flavors.
The Cucurbitaceae Family
The genus Cucumis L. (Cucurbitaceae) is extensive and includes two major commercial vegetable crops — cucumbers and melons. Relatively recent introductions to the New World, melon (Cucumus melo) and watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) both originated in Africa about 5,000 to 6,000 years ago. The cucumber (Cucumus sativus L.) originated in India 3,000 years ago, and cultivation began in Europe between the 9th and 12th centuries.