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Living Room Without Coffee Table – In a previous entry, we presented the Ecuador 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, which is the Physalis or Uvilla, as they commonly call it in their country of origin Ecuador.

The Uvilla (physalis peruviana l.) is a plant that belongs to the Solanaceae family and its fruits grow and ripen in 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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Mainly we find it in the tropical zone 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, Great Britain, 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 of “physaloides” includes 90 to 100 species (D`Arcy, 1991; Martínez, 1998) and one of the edible ones today is the 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 immunostimulant, anticancer, antibacterial, antiviral and diuretic characteristics. In addition, medicinal properties such as purifying the blood, reducing albumin in the kidneys, relieving throat problems, strengthening the optic nerve, cleaning cataracts and controlling amebiasis (Corporación Colombia Internacional, Universidad de los Andes and the Department of National Planning, 1994). It is a source of provitamin A and vitamin C (Herman, 1994b).

Inside, we work intensively on fermentations. Therefore, the first development was to ferment the Uvillas for later analysis through surveys conducted on a total of 100 people, both professionals in the sector of gastronomy and real consumers. The tastings were of an affective type with the simple aim of eliciting a positive or negative response about the acceptability of the fermented fruit.

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

In the case of Umeboshi, it is a Japanese apricot that is grown in early summer, when it begins to change its color from green to yellowish, and is preserved for several months through lactic fermentation and salting. 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, salted in tempura or, most significantly, on top of 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 fermented physalis similar to a Japanese product called “umeboshi” of great gastronomic value, promote its use and spread it as a new marketable Andean product throughout the world.

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It is called the cellular process where glucose is used to obtain energy, in which 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. Beer as well as vegetables and fruits such as sauerkraut, kimchi or umeboshi.

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Lactic fermentation occurs in three phases; Initially, anaerobic bacteria such as Klebsiella and Enterobacter act more strongly in fermentation, producing a favorable acidic environment for the next bacteria. The second phase begins when the environment is too acidic for most bacteria and Leuconostoc mesenteroides and other Leuconostoc spp. they take control In the third phase, various Lactobacillus ferment any remaining sugar and lower the pH.

These bacteria have the great characteristic of being halophilic, unlike many other microorganisms that die in salt conditions, therefore milk fermentations are always related to the percentage of salt, we are always talking about a minimum of 2% – 3% salt in relation to the total weight of what is being fermented. In this case, in addition to generating a selective environment for the milk bacteria to live, the salt extracts the water from the products by osmosis, which accelerates the fermentation. In the case of “umeboshi” it is traditionally made with 20%-25% salt, but they can be found in the market at 4%.

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Traditionally, glass or wooden containers are used for this type of fermentation, always making sure that the product is completely covered with liquid to prevent the product from being in direct contact with oxygen, but it has an aerobic fermentation, therefore vacuum bags are currently used .(always leaving oxygen behind) to facilitate handling.

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

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

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The tests carried out with a higher amount of salt are too salty for us and much of the specific taste of physalis is hidden behind the intensity of the salt. The tests with less amount of salt have better acceptance. Nevertheless, the first tests can be used after the product is covered and desalted, insisting that part of its flavor and aroma is lost in this soaking.

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We can say that the fermented uvilla can be used in the same way as the “umeboshi” due to its very similar acidity and salinity characteristics, as part of a garnish, sauces, etc., or as a simple snack. In this part, if we distinguish the fermented product from the fermentation liquid extracted from the uvilla, a transparent and saline liquid that can be used as a fermented sauce, any preparation such as dressings, broths, sauces, marinades, etc.

After several months of the development of the fermented products and various organoleptic and consumer tests, we saw that the most accepted was 3% salt, with 80% acceptance in a product acceptance tasting conducted on 100 people, another percentage of salt as 6% and 8 % if they were accepted in less quantity, the least accepted 12%.

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This opens up great opportunities for us in different lactically fermented fruits. We have already tried different fruits and vegetables in search of other uses for lactic acid fermentation, in these cases very good nutrition and gastronomic results for use in restaurants and every day.

– ALVARES BOXES, GILBERTO; CAMPOVERDE VIVANCO, GENNY; ESPINOSA MEJIA, MARCO; Technical manual for the cultivation of Uvilla (physalis peruviana L.) in Loja. Loja, Ecuador, 2012.

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

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– FISCHER, GERARD; MIRANDA, DIEGO; WILSON PIEDRAHITA, JORGE ROMERO. Advances in the cultivation, post-harvest and export of the Cape Stühnbier (physalis peruviana L.) in Colombia. National University of Colombia, Faculty of Agronomy, 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.


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Living Room Without Coffee Table

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