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West Elm Streamline Coffee Table – In a previous post, we featured the Ecuadorian chair along with a summary of all of 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 – physalis or uvila, as they call it colloquially in their country of origin – Ecuador.

Uvila (physalis peruviana l.) is a plant of the Solanaceae family, whose fruits grow and ripen inside its calyx. Its origin is uncertain, but it is believed to have been in the Andes of South America, such as Peru (Leggue, 1974), Brazil (CRFG, 1997), and Ecuador (Bartholomaus et al., 1990).

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We find it mostly in the tropical zone of America, Antilles and Australia. According to some sources, the main Uvila 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 includes 90-100 species (D`Arcy, 1991; Martínez, 1998), and one of the edible ones today is physalis peruviana, also known as guchuba, uchuva, uvilla, gooseberry or Andean cherry.

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It is a fruit considered a “functional food” because, according to Harman (2004), it has immunostimulatory, anticancer, antibacterial, antiviral and diuretic properties. In addition, it contributes to healing properties such as blood purification, reduction of albumin in the kidneys, treatment of throat problems, strengthening of the optic nerve, clearing of cataracts and control of amoebiasis (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 are intensively working on fermentation. Therefore, the first creation was to ferment hives for subsequent analysis by conducting surveys involving a total of 100 people, both professionals in the gastronomy sector and real consumers. The tastings were of an affective type, with the simple goal of obtaining a positive or negative response regarding the acceptance of fermented fruit.

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We were inspired by the Japanese technology and custom of lactic fermentation of fruits, such as the well-known umeboshi. The word “ume” or Japanese apricot is actually a plum (prunnus mume, armeniaca mume), literally translated as “dried plum”. Umeboshi is traditionally used to make umeshu macerated alcohol with umeboshi.

As for umeboshi, it is a Japanese apricot that is grown in early summer when it starts to change color from green to yellow and is preserved for several months through lactic fermentation in 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, battered with tempura or, most importantly, over a bowl of rice (hinomau bento, meaning Japanese flag). (Hosking, R., 2001)

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The aim of this development is to obtain a fermented physalis similar to the Japanese product called umeboshi, with a high gastronomic value, promoting its use and distribution as a new commercial Andean product worldwide.

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It is called a cellular process where glucose is used for energy, when glucose is partially oxidized and 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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Milk fermentation takes place in three stages; Initially, during fermentation, anaerobic bacteria such as Klebsiella and Enterobacter are more active, creating a favorable acidic environment for other bacteria. The second phase begins when the environment is too acidic for most bacteria and Leuconostoc mesenteroides and other Leuconostoc spp. they take over In the third phase, various Lactobacillus ferment the remaining sugars and lower the pH.

These bacteria have a high halophilic property, unlike many other microorganisms that die in a salty environment, so milk fermentation has always been associated with salt percentages, we are always talking about at least 2% – 3% salt. the total weight of what will be fermented. In this case, salt not only creates a selective environment for milk bacteria to live, but also extracts water from products by osmosis, accelerating fermentation. In the case of umeboshi, they are traditionally made with 20%-25% salt, but can be found on the market with 4%.

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Traditionally, glass or wooden containers are used for this fermentation method, always trying to completely cover the product with liquid so that the product does not come into contact with oxygen, but aerobic fermentation takes place, therefore vacuum. Bags are currently used (always leaving oxygen behind) for easier handling.

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

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Fermentation was carried out for 2 months in a refrigerator at a temperature of 4ºC, because in tests with other products, cold fermentation gave better results from an organoleptic point of view, improved taste and smell.

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Studies done with higher salt content are too salty for us, and much of the specific flavor of physalis lies behind the intensity of the salt. Trials with lower salt content were better received. Nevertheless, the first tests can be used after soaking and desalting the product, claiming that during this soaking part of its taste and aroma is lost.

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Fermented uvila can be said to be used in the same way as umeboshi, as a side dish, sauces, etc., or as a simple snack, due to its very similar acidity and saltiness. In this part, if we distinguish the fermented product from the fermentation liquid extracted from the uvila, a clear and salty liquid that can be used as any fermented sauce to enhance any preparation, such as infusions, broths, sauces, marinades, etc.

After several months of development of fermented products and various organoleptic and consumer studies, we found that the most acceptable was 3% salt, 80% acceptable in a product acceptance tasting conducted by 100 people, another percentage of salt – 6% and 8% if less were accepted , and the least accepted is 12%.

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This opens up great possibilities for us in the production of various lactic fermented fruits. We have tested various fruits and vegetables in search of other uses for lactic acid fermentation, in these cases with very good nutritional and gastronomic results for restaurant and everyday use.

– ALVARES DĖĖĖS, GILBERT; CAMPOVERDE VIVANCO, GENNY; ESPINOSA MEJIA, MARCO; Technical guide to growing Uvila (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, Santa Fe de Bogotá. in 1999

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– FISHER, GERARD; MIRANDA, DIEGO; WILSON PIEDRAHITA, JORGE ROMERO. Progress in growing, harvesting and exporting cape gooseberry (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 gooseberries (physalis peruviana L.) at three temperatures using a pallet dehydrator. Riobamba, Ecuador, 2010

– MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE, LIVESTOCK AND FISHERIES, GENERAL COORDINATION OF THE NATIONAL INFORMATION SYSTEM; DIRECTION OF RESEARCH AND GENERATION OF MOST DATA (DIGDM). Economic agro-ecological zoning of betel nut (physalis peruviana L.) cultivation in continental Ecuador. Another, Ecuador, 2014.

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