This study examined the nutrient composition and sensory properties of fruit juice
produced from fruits of Pitanga cherry ( Eugenia uniflora
L.). Ripe Pitanga cherry fruits
were harvested from the premises of the National Root Crops Research Institute,
Umudike, Nigeria and used for the study. The fruits were sorted and washed thoroughly.
The seeds were removed manually and the pulp was blended in a high speed Kenwood
kitchen blender with little water (pulp: water; 4:1) for 10 minutes. The mixture was
screened through a clean double folded cheese cloth into a beaker. The fruit juice was
boiled in hot water for 15 minutes and poured into sterilized bottles for nutrient
composition and sensory evaluation. Standard assay methods were used to analyze the
nutrient content of the Pitanga cherry juice (PCJ). Standard black currant fruit drink
(BCD) was bought from the market and used as control. A 9-point hedonic scale was
adopted to evaluate the sensory properties of the two samples. Both samples had low
levels of some of the proximate components but PCJ had higher fat (0.54%), fibre
(0.553%) and ash (1.003%) contents. Total sugar for PCJ was 8.76% and BCD (13.72%).
Energy value was 54.83 kcal for PCJ and 48.80 kcal for BCD. There were significant
differences (P<0.05) in all the proximate and total sugar composition of the PCJ and the
BCD except for carbohydrate where there was no difference (P>0.05).The Pitanga cherry
juice contained significant quantities of potassium (101.26 mg), magnesium (15.52 mg),
phosphorus (11.26 mg), calcium (10.75 mg), sodium (10.35 mg) and zinc (3.74 mg).
However, the iron content was low (0.27 mg). The mineral content of PCJ was higher
(p<0.05) than that of BCD except for magnesium and sodium. The cherry juice was
moderately liked for all the sensory attributes of colour, taste, flavour and general
acceptability. Instead of allowing the fruit to waste during peak periods, it could be
processed into juice with appreciable nutritive value and acceptable sensory properties.