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White Glass Top Coffee Table – In the previous post, we presented the Ecuadorian stool together with a summary of the entire 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, which is physalis or uvilla as it is colloquially called in the country of origin, Ecuador.

Uvila (physalis peruviana l.) is a plant from the Solanaceae family whose fruits grow and ripen inside the 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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It is mainly found in the tropical belt of America, the Antilles and Australia. According to some sources, the main countries that produce Uvila are Colombia, South Africa, New Zealand, Kenya, India, Italy, Argentina, South Africa, United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Honduras and Peru. The main exporting countries in the world 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.

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It is a fruit that is considered a “functional food” since, according to Harman (2004), it has immunostimulating, anticancer, antibacterial, antiviral and diuretic properties. In addition, medicinal properties such as purifying the blood, reducing albumin in the kidneys, relieving throat problems, strengthening the optic nerve, clearing cataracts and controlling amebiasis contribute to it (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).

Fermentation is intensively done inside. Therefore, the first development was the fermentation of uvilla for later analysis through surveys conducted on a total of 100 people, professionals in the gastronomic sector and real consumers. The tastings were of an affective type with the simple goal of achieving a positive or negative response on the acceptance of fermented fruit.

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We are inspired by the Japanese technique 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) which literally translates to “dried plum”. Umeboshi is traditionally used to make umeshu macerated liqueur with umeboshi.

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 is preserved by lactic fermentation in salting for several months. They are then dehydrated in the sun and kept semi-dry. They are usually red in color because they are fermented with red shisa leaves, but they also exist without shisa. The most common way to consume it 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.)

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The aim of this development is to obtain a fermented physalis similar to the Japanese product called “umeboshi” of great gastronomic value, promoting its use and spreading it as a new marketable Andean product throughout the world.

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It is called a cellular process in which glucose is used to obtain energy, in which glucose is partially oxidized and where the waste product is lactic acid, it is traditionally used in the production of mainly dairy products such as yogurt, viili, creme fraiche, lambic type of beer as well as vegetables and fruits such as sauerkraut, kimchi or umeboshi.

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Milk fermentation takes place in three phases; Initially, anaerobic bacteria such as Klebsiella and Enterobacter are more active in fermentation, creating a favorable acidic environment for the following bacteria. The second stage begins when the environment is too acidic for most bacteria and Leuconostoc mesenteroides and other Leuconostoc spp. take over In the third stage various lactobacilli ferment any remaining sugar and lower the pH.

These bacteria have the great characteristic of being halophilic, unlike many other microorganisms that die in salty conditions, that is why lactic fermentations have always been linked to salt percentages, we are always talking about a minimum of 2% – 3% salt in relation to the total weight of what will be to ferment. In this case, in addition to creating a selective environment for the life of lactic acid bacteria, salt draws water from the product by osmosis, accelerating fermentation. In the case of “umeboshi”, it is traditionally made with 20%-25% salt, but 4% can be found on the market.

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Traditionally, glass or wooden jars are used for this type of fermentation, always taking care that the product is completely covered with liquid so that the product is not in direct contact with oxygen, but it has an aerobic fermentation, which is why it is vacuumed. 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 the salt ranges were accepted in fermented products and previous tests. All are made in a vacuum bag with 85% vacuum.

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Fermentation was carried out in a refrigerator at 4ºC for 2 months, it was done this way 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 carried out with a larger amount of salt were too salty for us and a large part of the specific taste of physalis is hidden behind the intensity of the salt. Tests with a lower salt content were better accepted. Nevertheless, the first tests can be used after soaking and desalting the product, insisting that part of the flavor and aroma is lost by 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 acidity and saltiness characteristics, as part of a garnish, sauce, etc., or as a simple snack. In this section, if we distinguish the fermented product from the fermentation liquid that is extracted from uvilla, a clear and salty liquid that can be used as any fermented sauce, improving any preparation such as dressings, soups, sauces, marinades, etc.

After several months of fermented product development and various organoleptic and consumer tests, we saw that the most accepted was 3% salt, with 80% acceptance in a product acceptability tasting conducted on 100 people, other salt percentages of 6% and 8% if accepted in a smaller quantity, the least accepted is 12%.

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This opens up great possibilities for us in different milk-fermented fruits. We have already tried different fruits and vegetables looking for other uses for lactic fermentation, in these cases having very good nutritional and gastronomic results for use in restaurants and on a daily basis.

– KUTIJE ALVARES, GILBERTO; CAMPOVERDE VIVANCO, GENNY; ESPINOSA MEJIA, MARCO; Technical manual for growing uvilla (physalis peruviana L.) in Loja. Loja, Ecuador, 2012.

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

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– FISHER, GERARD; MIRANDA, DIEGO; WILSON PIEDRAHITA, JORGE ROMERO. Progress in cultivation, postharvest and export of gooseberry (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.


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