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Coffee Table With Charging Station – In a previous post, we presented the Ecuadorian Armchair along with a summary of all the research and development work of two Ecuadorian products, plantain (musa paradisiaca) and physalis (physalis peruviana l.). On this occasion, we will present only one of the products, which is physalis or uvilla, as they call it in its country of origin, Ecuador.

Uvilla (physalis peruviana l.) is a plant of the Solanaceae family and its fruits grow and ripen inside its calyx. Its origin is unclear, but it is believed to have been in the Andes of South America, such as Peru (Leggue, 1974), Brazil (CRFG, 1997) and Ecuador (Bartholomaus et al., 1990).

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We find it mainly in the tropical zone of America, in the Antilles and in Australia. According to some sources, the main producing countries of uvilla are Colombia, South Africa, New Zealand, Kenya, India, Italy, Argentina, South Africa, United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Honduras and Peru. Globally, the main exporting countries are: Zimbabwe, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Kenya, South Africa, Peru, Bolivia and Mexico. (Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Aquaculture and Fisheries, 2011, Ecuador, FAO 1982).

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The genus “physaloides” includes 90 to 100 species (D`Arcy, 1991; Martínez, 1998) and one of the edible ones today is physalis peruviana, also known as guchuba, uchuva, uvilla, cape gooseberry or Andean cherry.

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It is a fruit considered a “functional food” because it has immunostimulatory, anticancer, antibacterial, antiviral and diuretic properties according to Harman (2004). In addition, it has medicinal properties such as purifying the blood, reducing albumin in the kidneys, alleviating throat problems, strengthening the optic nerve, clearing cataracts and controlling amoebiasis (Corporación Colombia Internacional, Universidad de los Andes and Department of National Planning, 1994). . It is a source of provitamin A and vitamin C (Herman, 1994b).

Inside, we are intensively working on fermentations. Therefore, the first development was to ferment uvillas for later analysis through surveys conducted on a total of 100 people, both professionals in the gastronomic sector and real consumers. The tastings were of an affective type with the simple aim of achieving a positive or negative response to the acceptance of the fermented fruit.

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We were inspired by the Japanese technique and custom of lactic fermentation of fruit, such as the well-known “umeboshi”. The word “ume” or Japanese apricot is actually plum (prunnus mume, armeniaca mume), which literally translates to “dried plum”. Umeboshi is traditionally used to make umeshu, a liquor macerated with umeboshi.

In the case of umeboshi, it is a Japanese apricot that is grown at the beginning of summer, when it begins to change its color from green to yellowish, and is preserved by lactic fermentation in salting for several months. They are then dehydrated in the sun and kept semi-dry. They are usually red in color because they are fermented with red shiso leaves, but they also exist without shiso. The most common way to consume them in Japan is in a cup of bacha tea, desalted in tempura or especially on a bowl of rice (hinomau bento, referring to the Japanese flag). (Hosking, R., 2001)

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The aim of this development is to obtain a fermented physalis similar to the Japanese product called “umeboshi” with great gastronomic value, promote its use and spread it as a new marketable Andean product worldwide.

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It is called a cellular process where glucose is used for energy, in which the glucose is partially oxidized and where the waste product is lactic acid, traditionally used in the production of mainly dairy products such as yogurt, viili, creme fraiche, lambic type of beer and also vegetables and fruits like sauerkraut, kimchi or umeboshi.

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Lactic fermentation takes place in three stages; Initially, anaerobic bacteria such as Klebsiella and Enterobacter act more strongly during fermentation and create a favorable acidic environment for other bacteria. The second phase begins when the environment is too acidic for most bacteria and Leuconostoc mesenteroides and other Leuconostoc spp. take over In the third stage, various Lactobacillus ferment the remaining sugar and lower the pH.

These bacteria have the great characteristic of being halophilic, unlike many other microorganisms that die in salty conditions, that is why lactic fermentations have always been associated with percentages of salt, we are always talking about a minimum of 2% – 3% salt in relation to the total weight of what what will be fermented. In this case, in addition to creating a selective environment for the life of lactic acid bacteria, salt extracts water from the products by osmosis, thereby accelerating fermentation. In the case of “umeboshi”, it is traditionally made with 20%-25% salt, but can be found on the market from 4%.

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Traditionally, glass or wooden containers are used for this type of fermentation, always make sure that the product is completely covered by the liquid so that the product does not come into direct contact with oxygen, but it has an aerobic fermentation, therefore it is a vacuum, currently bags are used (always they retain oxygen) to facilitate handling.

Different percentages of salt were tested: 2%, 3% and 6%, this range was chosen because the salt ranges were accepted in fermented products and previous tests. All were vacuum bagged with 85% vacuum.

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Fermentation was carried out in a refrigerator at 4ºC for 2 months, it was done this way because in tests with other products, cold fermentation gave better results from an organoleptic point of view, improving taste and aroma.

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Tests performed with higher amounts of salt are too salty for us, and much of the specific flavor of physalis is hidden behind the intensity of the salt. Tests with less salt had better acceptability. Even so, the first tests can be used after soaking and desalting the product, while we insist that some of its flavor and aroma are lost during this soaking.

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It could be said that fermented uvilla, due to its very similar properties of acidity and saltiness, can be used in the same way as “umeboshi” as part of garnishes, sauces, etc. or as a simple snack. In this section, if we distinguish the fermented product from the fermentation liquid that is extracted from the uvilla, a transparent and salty liquid that can be used as any fermented sauce, improving any preparation, such as dressings, broths, sauces, marinades, etc.

After several months of development of fermented products and various organoleptic and consumer tests, we saw that the most accepted was 3% salt, with 80% acceptance in the acceptance tasting of the products performed on 100 people, the other percentages of salt 6% and 8% if accepted in smaller amounts , while the least accepted is 12%.

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This opens up great possibilities for us in different lactic-fermented fruits. We have already tried different types of fruits and vegetables and looked for other uses for lactic fermentation, in these cases with very good nutritional and gastronomic results for use in restaurants and on a daily basis.

– ALVARES BOXY, GILBERTO; CAMPOVERDE VIVANCO, GENNY; ESPINOSA MEJIA, MARCO; Technical manual for growing uvilla (physalis peruviana L.) in Loja. Loja, Ecuador, 2012.

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– FISHER, GERARD; MARTINEZ, ORLANDO. Quality and ripeness of Cape gooseberry (physalis peruviana L.) in relation to fruit color. National University of Colombia, Santafe de Bogota. 1999.

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– FISHER, GERARD; MIRANDA, DIEGO; WILSON PIEDRAHITA, JORGE ROMERO. Advances in the cultivation, harvesting and export of Cape gorse (Physalis peruviana L.) in Colombia. National University of Colombia, Faculty of Agriculture, Bogotá, 2005. ISBN: 958-701-603-3.

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– JUNTAMAY TENEZACA, ELVIA ROCIO. Nutritional evaluation of dehydrated cape gooseberry (physalis peruviana L.) at three temperatures using a tray dehydrator. Riobamba, Ecuador, 2010.

– MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE, ECONOMY AND FISHERIES, GENERAL COORDINATION OF THE NATIONAL INFORMATION SYSTEM; DIRECTION OF RESEARCH AND MULTISECTORAL DATA GENERATION (DIGDM). Economic agroecological regionalization of uvilla (physalis peruviana L.) cultivation in continental Ecuador. Quito, Ecuador, 2014.

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