Pathway no. 5 : OVER-RIPENING OF STARCHY FRUITS AND TUBERCULES

Some traditional brewing techniques from tropical Africa and the Amazon cause the over-ripening of starchy fruits (plantain banana) and tubers (manioc, yam). The same is done in Asia with the tubers of taro or the starch from the pith of the sago palm (Borneo, Java).

 

The ripener (pit, wooden trough, hollowed out trunk, large container) confines the raw material peeled, cooked in the case of tubers, and wrapped in leaves to increase its temperature. The process combines endogenous enzymatic sources (amylases) and external contributions from the microorganisms present on the plants and the walls of the ripener. As with malting, man provokes, accelerates and then diverts a natural biological process (ripening of the fruit, decomposition of the tubers) to his advantage. The enzymatic decomposition of the starch releases the sugars and causes their instant alcoholic fermentation. The addition of leaves (banana tree, palms, etc.) in the ripening apparatus ensures the presence of yeasts.

The over-ripening proceeds by simultaneous hydrolysis and alcoholic fermentation. This technique is characterised by the judicious use of endogenous enzymatic decomposition mechanisms specific to fruit (ripening) and starchy tubers. It is not necessary to prepare some enzyme-bearing ferments or starter, unlike the starchy raw substrates low in amylases such as rice or millet processed by the brewing pathway no. 3.

If we look at the process at its starting point (amylolysis), we are dealing with a true beer from plantain banana. The question arises about the fermented beverage made from the banana "fruit" : wine or banana beer?

 

Old man making local banana beer in Western UgandaOld man making local banana beer in Western Uganda
Woman selling a traditional banana beer called Mbege in TanzaniaWoman selling a traditional banana beer called Mbege in Tanzania
Rwanda local banana beer Top: a large and growing banana market outside Kigali, Rwanda. Bottom: banana beer sellers at the Muhanga (former Gitarama) market, Rwanda. Right: banana beer in a big container and bananas sold by a woman at a separate banana beer market outside Kigali, Rwanda.

 

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01/04/2013  Christian Berger