Australian Functional Ingredients – by Vic Cherikoff

Hummus, hommus or hommous, stability is key

My new powdered formulation (on Acacia gum or potato starch) is now showing extremely good results used in hummus. One manufacturer in the USA is happy with the 14 weeks (and still counting) chilled shelf life which Chef Wayne Philen, a colleague of mine working in association with the Food Innovation Center in Portland, Oregon has been able to achieve for them.

Water Activity was brought to 0.8 using xanthan gum at 0.0125% (any more than this could impart a rubbery texture).

A pH of 4.2 was achieved using lemon juice (1/2 oz per lb) or glucono delta lactone (less taste contribution) at 2.5%.

Here’s the method:
Dip and drain the chick peas or carbanzo beans into a 1% solution of Herbal-Active®. Cook and process the beans or peas. In a clean, dry container, mix 0.0125% xanthum gum with the powdered Herbal-Active®at 0.08% (both relative to the final finished hummus weight) and if using glucono delta lactone as an acidifier (gentle and effective) add 2.5%. Then add all the seasonings to be used to these powders as well. This helps distribute the individual powders and reduces the risk of clumping. Dissolve the powders by adding lemon juice (if not using GDL) and some of the cooked bean/pea mixture and mix together well before adding to the remaining beans/peas. Finally, blend in the tahini. The humus is then heated to 160°F (71.1°C) and cooled to 40°F (4.4°C) before packing into clean, sanitized containers with air tight lids.

The results to date, have been 14 weeks of shelf life at chiller temperature and the taste and texture were unchanged over this time.


(Above pic: Top two showing hummus in two control batches after 3 weeks and below, the hummus with Herbal-Active® after 9 weeks.)

A similar approach can be used with dips of other kinds and pasteurization is not essential in products where there is a high degree of dilution with a relatively microbially clean ingredient eg high quality water, cream cheese or sour cream, coconut cream etc. In these products, the Herbal-Active® is similarly added to any acidifiers used, then the flavourings such as herbs and spices, salmon fines, etc are added. Next come the cooked vegetable purees (eggplant, beetroot etc) and finally any water and dairy product gets mixed in.

The net effect of this process is that the Herbal-Active® is at highest concentration with the ingredients with the greatest microbial loads before being diluted out to the final product weight with more aseptic ingredients.

Update: The product made 6 months in our chilled shelf life trials. It looked as though it would just keep on going but this was deemed a successful test.

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Vic Cherikoff