Mid Century Coffee Table Vintage – In a previous post, we presented the Ecuador Chair along with a summary of all the research and development work done on two Ecuadorian products, Plantain (Musa paradisiaca) and Physalis (Physalis peruviana l.). On this occasion we present just one of the products, namely the Physalis or Uvilla as they are colloquially called in their country of origin, Ecuador.
The Uvilla (Physalis peruviana l.) is a plant of the nightshade 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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We find them mainly in the tropical zone of America, on 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. The most important export countries worldwide 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. .
It is a fruit that is considered a “functional food” as it has immune stimulating, anticancer, antibacterial, antiviral and diuretic properties according to Harman (2004). In addition, medicinal properties such as cleaning the blood, reducing albumin in the kidneys, relieving throat problems, strengthening the optic nerve, cleaning cataracts and fighting amoebiasis are brought in (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 Uvillas for later analysis through surveys carried out on a total of 100 people, both professionals in the hospitality industry and real consumers. The tastings were of an affective nature, with the simple aim of obtaining a positive or negative response in terms of acceptance of the fermented fruit.
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We were inspired by a Japanese technique and custom of fermenting fruit to make it milky, such as the well-known “Umeboshi”. The word “ume” or Japanese apricot is actually a plum (prunnus mume, armeniaca mume), which is the literal translation “dried plum”. Umeboshi is traditionally used to make macerated umeshu liquor with umeboshis.
In the case of umeboshi, it is a Japanese apricot grown in early summer when it begins to change color from green to yellowish and preserved for a few months by lactic fermentation in salt. They are then dehydrated in the sun and kept semi-dry. They’re usually red in color because they’re fermented with red shiso leaves, but they’re also available without shiso. The most common way to consume them in Japan is in a cup of bacha tea, desalted in tempura, or most importantly, on a bowl of rice (hinomau bento, referring to the Japanese flag). (Hosking, R., 2001)
The goal of this development is to obtain fermented physalis, similar to a Japanese product called “umeboshi” of great gastronomic value, to promote its use and to spread it around the world as a new marketable Andean product.
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It is referred to as a cellular process in which glucose is used for energy, in which glucose is partially oxidized and the waste product is lactic acid, traditionally used in the production of mainly dairy products such as yoghurt, viili, crème fraiche and lambic type beers as well as vegetables and fruit such as sauerkraut, kimchi or umeboshi are used.
Malolactic fermentation occurs in three phases; Initially, anaerobic bacteria such as Klebsiella and Enterobacter act more strongly in the fermentation and create a favorable acidic environment for the next bacteria. The second phase begins when the environment for most bacteria and Leuconostoc mesenteroides and other Leuconostoc spp. is too angry. You take control In the third phase, various Lactobacillus ferment the remaining sugar and lower the pH.
These bacteria have the great property of being halophilic, unlike many other microorganisms that die in saline conditions, which is why lactic fermentations have always been associated with salt percentages, we always speak of at least 2% – 3% salt in relation to the total weight of it what is to be fermented. In this case, the salt not only creates a selective living environment for the lactic acid bacteria, but also removes the water from the products through osmosis, which speeds up fermentation. In the case of “umeboshi” it is traditionally made with 20%-25% salt, but they are available in the market from 4%.
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Traditionally, glass or wooden jugs are used for this type of fermentation, always making sure that the product is completely covered with liquid to prevent the product from coming into direct contact with oxygen, but aerobic fermentation takes place, why vacuum is created Currently bags are used (always allowing oxygen) to facilitate handling.
Different salt percentages were tested: 2%, 3% and 6%, this range was chosen because fermented products and previous tests were accepted salt ranges. All were made in a vacuum bag with 85% vacuum.
The fermentation was carried out in a refrigerator at 4ºC for 2 months, because in tests with other products, carrying out cold fermentation gave better results from an organoleptic point of view, improving taste and smell.
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The tests conducted with a higher amount of salt are too salty for us and much of the specific taste of the Physalis is hidden behind the intensity of the salt. The trials with less salt had better acceptance. 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 soak.
We could say that due to its very similar acidity and salinity characteristics, the fermented uvilla can be used in the same way as the “umeboshi”, as part of a side dish, sauces, etc. or as a simple snack. If in this part we distinguish the fermented product from the fermentation liquid obtained from the uvilla, a transparent and salty liquid that can be used as any fermented sauce, enhancing any preparation such as dressings, broths, sauces, marinades, etc.
After several months of development of the fermented products and various organoleptic tests and consumer tests, we found that 3% salt was the most accepted, with 80% acceptance in a product acceptance tasting conducted on 100 people, another 6% salt percentage and 8% when they have been accepted in lesser quantity, the least accepted being 12%.
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This opens up great possibilities for us in various lactic acid fermented fruits. We have already tried different fruits and vegetables that have been looking for other uses of lactic acid fermentation and in these cases have obtained very good nutritional and gastronomic results for use in restaurants and on a daily basis.
– ALVARES-BOXEN, GILBERTO; CAMPOVERDE VIVANCO, GENNY; ESPINOSA MEJIA, MARCO; Technical manual for the cultivation of Uvilla (Physalis peruviana L.) in Loja. Loja, Ecuador, 2012.
– FISCHER, GERARD; MARTINEZ, ORLANDO. Quality and ripeness of the 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 cultivation, post-harvest and export of Cape gooseberries (Physalis peruviana L.) in Colombia. National University of Colombia, Faculty of Agronomy, Bogotá, 2005. ISBN: 958-701-603-3.
– 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, LIVESTOCK AND FISHERIES, GENERAL COORDINATION OF THE NATIONAL INFORMATION SYSTEM; RESEARCH DIRECTION AND GENERATION OF MULTISECTORIAL DATA (DIGDM). Economic agroecological zoning of Uvilla (Physalis peruviana L.) cultivation in continental Ecuador. Quito, Ecuador, 2014.
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– MINISTRY OF FOREIGN TRADE, DIRECTORATE OF COMMERCIAL INTELLIGENCE AND INVESTMENT. Monthly report on foreign trade, page 16. 2013.
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