Institute of Food Research, NARO

Cabbage core is renewed to a new material

- Expansion of the expressive power of 3D printed food using waste parts -

National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO) has found that it is possible to create crunchy paste-like food by using cabbage core that have been dried and pulverized to adjust the size of the grains and has confirmed the conditions under which it can be created using a 3D food printer. By this not only we can take in the nutrients and functional ingredients of the cabbage core, which is a discarded part, but also by utilizing the firmness as a new means of expression of texture, we can expect to reduce food loss that occurs when producing cut vegetables.


The cabbage core accounts for about 15% of the fresh weight of a head of cabbage, but because it is harder than the edible part of the leaves, it is often cut off during processing and discarded. Even in the Standard Tables of Food Composition in Japan 2020 (8th revision), the core of cabbage is positioned as a discarded part. On the other hand, discarding cabbage core, which contain dietary fiber, nutrients such as vitamin C, and functional ingredients such as chlorogenic acid, is also considered as food loss. Until now, cabbage core, which is easily perishable, have been processed into a fine powder and added to various dishes in order to utilize them while retaining their nutrients and functional ingredients. However, when it is pulverized, it loses the texture of fresh food, which limits its applications.

Therefore, in this research, we aimed to manufacture 3D printed food, which is attracting attention as a next-generation food processing technology, and developed a new usage method for expanding demand for cabbage core. First, we prepared a dry coarse powder with a particle size of less than 1 mm from the cabbage core and examined the easiness of crushing after absorbing water. By making this coarse powder into a paste and extruding it from the tip of a syringe (nozzle inner diameter of 8 mm), we were able to obtain a rod-shaped molding with a rough surface. Furthermore, by mixing with soft materials such as fine powder derived from cabbage leaves and adjusting the amount of water, we found that even with a nozzle with an inner diameter of 2 mm, which is used in 3D food printers, it is possible to extrude without cutting in the middle.

Conventional 3D-printed foods made from finely powdered vegetables tend to be in the form of a soft paste, which limits the range of food textures that can be expressed. By controlling the crushing conditions for ingredients such as cabbage core and broccoli stems that are too hard and have been discarded during the production of cut vegetables, it is expected that it will be possible to add a rich texture such as chewing sensation to next-generation foods such as 3D printed foods. In the future, while expanding the range of next-generation food processing using this coarse powder, we plan to accelerate the practical application of this new material by collaborating with cut vegetable manufacturers.


TOKUYASU Ken, YAMAGISHI Kenji, ANDO Yasumasa, and SHIRAI Nobuya: Cabbage core powder as a new food material for paste preparation with "nata puree". Journal of Applied Glycoscience, doi:10.5458/jag.jag.JAG-2022_0

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