Fermentation of Enset (Ensete ventricosum) in the Gamo Highlands of Ethiopia: Introduction of Sauerkraut Jars

Ellen Gorrens
Meer dan 15 miljoen Ethiopiërs zijn afhankelijk van de veelzijdige, inheemse plant enset die de bijnaam ‘de boom tegen honger’ draagt. De lokale bevolking gebruikt z’n knol en pseudostam om te fermenteren tot het eindproduct kocho. Er zijn echter veel vraagtekens over de veiligheid en de kwaliteit van kocho. Voor de optimalisatie van het lokale fermentatieproces werden zuurkoolpotten gebruikt.

Zuurkoolpotten in de strijd voor ‘de boom tegen honger’

KochoMeer dan 15 miljoen Ethiopiërs zijn afhankelijk van de veelzijdige, inheemse plant enset die de bijnaam ‘de boom tegen honger’ draagt. De lokale bevolking gebruikt z’n knol en pseudostam om te fermenteren tot het eindproduct kocho. Er zijn echter veel vraagtekens over de veiligheid en de kwaliteit van kocho. In kader van een VLIR-UOS project, vertrok Ellen Gorrens richting de Ethiopische Hooglanden ter verbetering van het traditionele fermentatieproces.

Momenteel worden in de Ethiopische Hooglanden putten en bamboemanden gebruikt om het plantenmateriaal te fermenteren. Het gebruik ervan leidt tot slechte kocho en de aanwezigheid van insecten. Desondanks heeft het fermentatieproces amper aandacht gekregen van onderzoekers. Omwille van die beperkte kennis in de literatuur, was het noodzakelijk om spontane fermentaties te karakteriseren. Daarvoor werden naast de traditionele putten en bamboemanden ook zuurkoolpotten gebruikt. De aanwezigheid van een glazuurlaag en een waterslot zorgen ervoor dat de pot volledig (water)dicht is. Dat kan leiden tot een beter gecontroleerd proces met een betere kochokwaliteit.

Resultaten

De fermentatie duurt zo’n twee à drie maanden. Gedurende die tijd zorgen melkzuurbacteriën voor een scherpe daling in pH, wat voor een langere houdbaarheid zorgt. Na 90 dagen fermenteren bleek de pH in de zuurkoolpotten effectief het laagste te zijn. Die lage pH zorgde ervoor dat Enterobacteriaceae (een familie bacteriën vol ziekteverwekkers) geen kans meer hebben in de kocho. Clostridium sporen, die aanleiding kunnen geven tot ziektes, waren aanwezig in hoge aantallen gedurende heel de fermentatie, wat vragen doet rijzen over de voedselveiligheid. De aantallen in de zuurkoolpotten waren wel consistent lager dan in de andere systemen. Dat is een voordeel aangezien de lokale bevolking soms onvolledige gefermenteerde kocho consumeert in het geval van een voedseltekort. Bovendien werd de kocho komende van de zuurkoolpotten bestempeld door 50 proefpersonen als beste qua geur, hardheid, smaak en algemene acceptatie.

ToekomstLokaal gemaakte zuurkoolpotten

Zuurkoolpotten zijn dus een beter fermentatiesysteem dan de putten en bamboemanden. Ze zorgen ervoor dat de kocho veiliger is en van betere kwaliteit. De aankoop van geïmporteerde zuurkoolpotten door Ethiopische families is evenwel financieel onmogelijk. De vervaardiging van lokaal gemaakte zuurkoolpotten kan soelaas brengen, en aangezien enset meestal in groep wordt verwerkt, is de oprichting van een duurzame coöperatie zeker een haalbare kaart. De lokaal gemaakte zuurkoolpotten hebben echter geen glazuurlaag. Verder onderzoek naar de haalbaarheid van die potten is dus eerst nodig. De eerste steen ter verbetering van het hoofdvoedsel van meer dan 15 miljoen Ethiopiërs is met deze wel gezet.

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Universiteit of Hogeschool
Master biowetenschappen: voedingsindustrie
Publicatiejaar
2018
Promotor(en)
Anneke De Smedt
Kernwoorden
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