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Large Square White Coffee Table – In the previous entry, we presented the Ecuadorian chair together 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, i.e. physalis or uvilla, as it is colloquially called in the country of origin, Ecuador.

Uvila (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 South American Andes such as Peru (Leggue, 1974), Brazil (CRFG, 1997) and Ecuador (Bartholomaus et al., 1990).

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It is found mainly in the tropical belt of America, the Antilles and Australia. According to some sources, the main uvilla producing countries are Colombia, South Africa, New Zealand, Kenya, India, Italy, Argentina, South Africa, United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Honduras and Peru. Worldwide, 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 that is considered a “functional food”, because according to Harman (2004) it has immunostimulating, anticancer, antibacterial, antiviral and diuretic properties. In addition, medicinal properties such as purifying the blood, reducing albumin in the kidneys, relieving throat problems, strengthening the optic nerve, clearing cataracts and controlling amoebiasis contribute to this (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).

Internally, we are intensively working on fermentations. Therefore, the first development of fermentation was carried out for later analysis with surveys conducted on a total of 100 people, both experts in the gastronomic sector and real consumers. The tastings were of an affective type with the simple goal of achieving a positive or negative response regarding the acceptance of fermented fruit.

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

In the case of umeboshi, it is a Japanese apricot that is grown in early summer, when it starts to change color from green to yellowish and is preserved for several months through lactic acid fermentation in salting. They are then dehydrated in the sun and stored semi-dry. They are usually red in color because they are fermented with red shisha leaves, but they also exist without shisha. The most common way to enjoy it in Japan is in a cup of bach tea, salted in tempura or, most importantly, on top of a bowl of rice (hinomau bento, which refers to the Japanese flag). (Hosking, R., 2001)

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The objective of this development is to obtain a fermented physalis similar to the Japanese product called “umeboshi”, of great gastronomic value, promoting its use and spreading it as a new commercial Andean product throughout the world.

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

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Lactic fermentation takes place in three stages; At the beginning, anaerobic bacteria such as Klebsiella and Enterobacter work harder during fermentation and create a favorable acidic environment for the following bacteria. The second phase begins when the environment is too acidic for most bacteria and Leuconostoc mesenteroides and other Leuconostoc spp. take control In the third stage, various Lactobacillus ferment all 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, so lactic acid fermentations have always been associated with percentages of salt, we are always talking about at least 2% – 3% salt in relation to the total weight of that , which will be fermented. In this case, in addition to creating a selective environment for the life of milk bacteria, salt removes water from the products by osmosis and thus accelerates 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 jars are used for this type of fermentation, always making sure that the product is completely covered with liquid to prevent direct contact of the product with oxygen, but it has an aerobic fermentation, hence the vacuum. currently bags are used (oxygen always remains) for easier handling.

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

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

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Tests performed with a higher amount of salt are too salty for us, and the intensity of the salt hides a large part of the specific taste of physalis. Tests with a lower amount of salt were more acceptable. Nevertheless, the first tests can be used after soaking and desalting the product, insisting that part of its flavor and aroma is lost during this soaking.

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It could be said that fermented uvilla can be used in the same way as “umeboshi” due to the very similar properties of acidity and saltiness, as part of garnish, sauces, etc. or as a simple snack. In this part, if we distinguish the fermented product from the fermentation liquid obtained from uvilla, it is a transparent and salty liquid that can be used as any fermented sauce that improves all preparations such as dressings, soups, sauces, marinades, etc.

After several months of development of fermented products and various organoleptic and consumer tests, we saw that the most accepted is 3% salt, with 80% acceptance in the product acceptability tasting conducted on 100 people, the second percentage of salt as 6% and 8%, if they were accepted in a smaller amount, which is the minimum accepted 12%.

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This opens up great possibilities for us with various lactic-fermented fruits. We have already tried various fruits and vegetables and looked for other uses for lactic acid fermentation, and in these cases we have very good nutritional and gastronomic results for use in restaurants and everyday use.

– ALVARES BOXES, 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. Cape Gooseberry (physalis peruviana L.) quality and maturity 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. Gooseberry (Physalis peruviana L.) cultivation, post-harvest and export progress in Colombia. National University of Colombia, Faculty of Agronomy, Bogotá, 2005. ISBN: 958-701-603-3.

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– JUNTAMAY TENEZACA, ELVIA ROCIO. Evaluation of the nutritional value of dehydrated gooseberry (physalis peruviana L.) at three temperatures using a tray dehydrator. Riobamba, Ecuador, 2010.


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