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Square Tufted Ottoman Coffee Table – In a previous post we presented the Ecuador Chair together with a summary of all the research and development work of two Ecuadorian products, the plantain (musa paradisiaca) and the physalis (physalis peruviana l.). On this occasion we are going to present just one of the products which is the physalis or uvilla as it is colloquially called in its country of origin, Ecuador.

The nightshade (physalis peruviana l.) is a plant belonging to the nightshade family and its fruits grow and ripen inside its calyx. Its origin is not clear 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 area of ​​America, the West Indies 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. 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” comprises between 90 and 100 species (D`Arcy, 1991; Martínez, 1998) and one of the edibles today is the Peruvian physalis, also known as guchuba, uchuva, uvilla, toxo do cabo or Andean cherry.

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

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

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

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 that is preserved by lactic fermentation in brine for a few months. They are then dehydrated in the sun and kept semi-dried. 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 bowl of bacha tea, salted in tempura or, most significantly, on top of a bowl of rice (hinomau bento, in reference 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, promoting its use and disseminating it as a new marketable Andean product worldwide.

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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 residue is lactic acid, traditionally used in the preparation of mainly dairy products such as yogurt, viili, crème fraiche, lambic type. beers 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 the fermentation, producing a favorable acid 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 phase, several 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 saline conditions, which is why lactic fermentations have always been related to salt percentages, we always talk about a minimum of 2% – 3% salt in relation. to the total weight of what will be fermented. In this case, in addition to creating a selective environment for the lactic acid bacteria to live, the salt extracts water from the products by osmosis, accelerating fermentation. In the case of “umeboshi” it is traditionally made with 20%-25% salt, but they can be found in the market from 4%.

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

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

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

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Tests made with a higher amount of salt are too salty for us and behind the intensity of the salt hides much of the specific flavor of the physalis. Tests with less salt had better acceptance. Even so, the first tests can be done after soaking and salting the product, insisting that part of its flavor and aroma is lost in this soaking.

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

After several months of making the fermented products and different organoleptic and consumption tests, we verified that the most accepted was 3% salt, with 80% acceptance in a product acceptance tasting conducted with 100 people, another percentage of salt such as 6% and 80% acceptance. 8% if they were accepted in smaller quantities, with the least accepted being 12%.

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This opens up great possibilities in different fruits of lactic fermentation. We have already tried different fruits and vegetables looking for other uses for lactic acid fermentation, having in these cases very good nutritional and gastronomic results for use in restaurants and in everyday life.

– CAIXAS ALVARES, 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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– PESCADOR, GERARDO; MARTINEZ, ORLANDO. Quality and maturity of Toxo do Cabo (physalis peruviana L.) in relation to the color of the fruit. National University of Colombia, Santafe de Bogotá. 1999

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– PESCADOR, GERARDO; MIRANDA, DIEGO; WILSON PIEDRAHITA, JORGE ROMERO. Advances in the cultivation, post-harvest 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 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; DIRECTORATE OF RESEARCH AND MULTISECTORAL DATA GENERATION (DIGDM). Economic agroecological zoning of the cultivation of uvilla (physalis peruviana L.) in continental Ecuador. Quito, Ecuador, 2014.

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