Mrs Emma Hassall

Emma has worked in sensory for seven years, starting as a sensory panellist before training as a research technician. She also has experience in quality control and a background in dental assisting and administration.

Publications contributed to by Mrs Emma Hassall:

  • Sensory properties of Australian bunya nuts

    3 June 2022

    (2022) Sensory properties of Australian bunya nuts

    Bunya nuts are the seeds of Araucaria bidwillii, a conifer native to South-East Queensland, Australia. They are one of the 19 species of Araucaria family found around the world, with the nuts from South America being the most commonly consumed. They are traditionally eaten boiled or roasted. This study aims to profile the sensory properties of bunya nuts with chestnut as a comparator. Since chestnuts do not come from a conifer tree, it is expected that there will be differences. Different methods of preparation are also expected to change the sensory attributes. Representative samples were collected from a variety of locations in South-East Queensland, prepared and presented to a panel of 14 experienced tasters applying conventional sensory descriptive profiling. During training, the panel developed a lexicon of 23 sensory attributes together with definitions and reference. Profiles of the boiled and roasted bunya nuts revealed higher scores for hardness on the first bite than chestnuts and, when chewed, became more crumbly, dry, and grainy. They had a savory aroma and flavor, and roasted samples exhibited a roasted aroma. Bunya nut samples were less sweet than chestnut samples. Differences in the sensory properties due to method of preparation were also observed. Boiled bunya nuts were softer and moister, with lower scores for crumbly and grainy. This research is foundational in providing technical information on the sensory profile of this important Indigenous Australian nut and provides a strong basis to support novel food sector opportunities for the bunya nut as a reemerging food source not only in Australia, but also South America. PRACTICAL APPLICATION: There is an increase demand for local, sustainable, and natural foods. Bunya nuts are native to Australia and are part of the Araucaria family, which includes 19 species that can be found around the world. To the best of our knowledge there is no study characterizing Araucaria nuts in terms of sensory attributes. This study builds a lexicon for bunya nuts and compares to chestnuts. It also shows how different preparation methods affect its sensory attributes, as well as possible future uses in product development. The outcomes might provide information to support studies on Araucaria nuts in other countries.

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