Sauder Manhattan Gate Coffee Table – In a previous post we have presented the Ecuador chair together with a summary of all the research and development of two Ecuadorian products, plantain (musa paradisiaca) and physalis (physalis peruviana l.). On this occasion, we will present only one of the products, namely physalis or uvilla, as they call it colloquially in their country of origin, Ecuador.
The Uvilla (physalis peruviana l.) is a plant belonging to 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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Mainly we find it in the tropical zone of America, 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 “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 as “functional food” as it has immune stimulating, anticancer, antibacterial, antiviral and diuretic properties according to Harman (2004). In addition, it contributes 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 Department of National Planning). , 1994). It is a source of provitamin A and vitamin C (Herman, 1994b).
Inside, we work intensively with fermentations. Therefore, the first development was to ferment uvillas for later analysis through studies carried out on a total of 100 people, both professionals in the gastronomy sector and real consumers. The tastings have been of an affective type with the simple purpose of obtaining a positive or negative response regarding acceptance of the fermented fruit.
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We have been inspired by a Japanese technique and practice of fermenting fruit lactically, such as the well-known “umeboshi”. The word “ume” or Japanese apricot is really a plum (prunnus mume, armeniaca mume) which is the literal translation “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 color from green to yellowish, and is preserved through lactic acid fermentation in salting for a few 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 are 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 top of a bowl of rice (hinomau bento, referring to the Japanese flag). (Hosking, R., 2001)
The purpose of this development is to obtain fermented physalis equivalent 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 in which glucose is used to obtain energy, in which glucose is partially oxidized and in which the waste product is lactic acid, which is traditionally used in the production of primarily dairy products such as yogurt, viili, creme fraiche, lambic-type beer, as well as vegetables and fruits such as sauerkraut, kimchi or umeboshi.
The lactic acid fermentation takes place in three phases; Initially, anaerobic bacteria such as Klebsiella and Enterobacter work more strongly in the fermentation and produce 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 sugars and lower the pH.
These bacteria have the great property of being halophilic, unlike many other microorganisms that die in salty conditions, therefore lactic acid fermentation has always been related to salt percentages, you always talk about a minimum of 2% – 3% salt in relation to the total weight of the , to be fermented. In this case, besides creating a selective environment for the lactic acid bacteria to live in, 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 on the market from 4%.
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Traditionally, glass or wooden jars are used for this type of fermentation, always ensuring that the product is completely covered with liquid to prevent the product from coming into direct contact with oxygen, but it has an aerobic fermentation, which is why 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 as in fermented products and previous tests they 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, it was done in this way because carrying out the cold fermentation in trials with other products gave better results from an organoleptic point of view, improving 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 salt had better acceptance. Nevertheless, the first tests can be used after soaking and desalting the product, insisting that part of its taste and aroma is lost in this soaking.
We can say that the fermented uvilla can be used in the same way as “umeboshi” due to its very similar acidity and salinity characteristics, as part of a side dish, sauces, etc., or as a simple snack. If we differentiate in this part the fermented product from the fermentation liquid extracted from the uvilla is a transparent and saline 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 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 carried out on 100 people, another percentage of salt as 6% and 8% if they were accepted in less quantity, accepting at least 12%.
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This opens up great opportunities for us in different lactic acid fermented fruits. We have already tried different fruits and vegetables looking for other uses for lactic acid fermentation, in these cases with very good nutritional and gastronomic results for use in restaurants and daily.
– ALVARES BOXES, GILBERTO; CAMPOVERDE VIVANCO, GENNY; ESPINOSA MEJIA, MARCO; Technical manual for growing uvilla (physalis peruviana L.) in Loja. Loja, Ecuador, 2012.
– FISHER, GERARD; MARTINEZ, ORLANDO. Quality and ripeness of Cape gooseberry (physalis peruviana L.) in relation to fruit colour. National University of Colombia, Santa Fe de Bogota. 1999.
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– FISHER, GERARD; MIRANDA, DIEGO; WILSON PIEDRAHITA, JORGE ROMERO. Advances in Gooseberry (Physalis peruviana L.) Cultivation, Postharvest and Export in Colombia. National University of Colombia, Faculty of Agronomy, Bogotá, 2005. ISBN: 958-701-603-3.
– JUNTAMAY TENEZACA, ELVIA ROCIO. Nutritional evaluation of dehydrated 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 yarrow (physalis peruviana L.) cultivation in continental Ecuador. Quito, Ecuador, 2014.
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– MINISTRY OF FOREIGN TRADE, DIRECTORATE OF COMMERCIAL INTELLIGENCE AND INVESTMENTS. Monthly Foreign Trade Bulletin page 16. 2013.
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