Andean Fermented Beverages
DOI link for Andean Fermented Beverages
Andean Fermented Beverages book
Abstract Latin American indigenous tribes used the fermentation processes as means of food processing and preservation. In the Andean regions of Latin America where the Inca empire had its civilization, the production of beverages was among the major practices that involved a natural fermentation processes. For the Inca’s population, the production of alcoholic beverages was important because they played an essential role in their spiritual beliefs., These drinks were considered to have a high symbolism because of the Incan cosmovision. The present chapter describes the traditional fermented beverages of pre-Columbian cultures of the Andean region of South America. Spontaneous fermentation processes were used as a way of alcohol production by using native (in pre-Colombian time) and Old World crops (in post-Colombian time). By allowing an aqueous mixture of fruits or vegetables to ferment, a great variety of alcoholic beverages with a low to a moderate alcoholic content (2-12%) were obtained. Such substrates are rich in fermentable sugars and/ or polysaccharides. In some cases preliminary steps such as chewing, germination or roasting were carried out to allow the process to easily occur and also to obtain assorted drinks. This chapter elaborates on the raw materials used, including: Manioc or Çassava, Banana, Sugar Cane, Sweet Potato, Rice, Cacao, Carob Beans, Maize and others. Maize production was of great importance, and for this reason, food crop also became an ingredient beverage manufacturing and this elaboration method was spread along the entire Andean region. Thus the most important and well known drink in this region was a Maize beer or maize-based beverage, called chicha. In Andean Latin America all chicha-like beverages with similar production methodology were called chicha as well. Nowadays many of these beverages are still being artisanally produced and consumed although they may have undergone changes in their composition and chemical characteristics due to the incorporation of new raw materials and elaboration methodologies. The main objective of this chapter is to introduce an improved knowledge of these traditional Andean fermented beverages, highlighting those coming from the Northwest region of Argentina. A revision of the processes involved in their manufacture will be useful in understanding
biochemical changes associated to the action of native microorganisms on raw materials. Traditional and new technological procedures involved in their manufacture are discussed. By increasing and updating the available knowledge from a technical and scientific point of view it is expected to make a helpful contribution for those who are interested in traditional fermented foods.