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The technology and properties of Omashikwa, a traditional fermented buttermilk produced by small-holder milk producers in Namibia

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*E-mail: pbille@unam.na

Summary

The production process and quality of Omashikwa, a traditional fermented buttermilk made with roots of the Omunkunzi tree (Boscia albitrunca), produced by the local farmers in Namibia, were studied. Omashikwa is characterised by bitter and rancid flavour, a high acidity, low pH, a rooty taste and a slimy consistency. The quality of Omashikwa (TO) from rural producers and experimental Omashikwa (EO) produced in the laboratory were compared. This was done to determine Omashikwa’s potential for improved food security and income generation of rural communities in Namibia. EO had a higher pH, lower acidity, higher fat and solids-not-fat contents, no filth, higher viscosity, lower syneresis and low total microbial counts. Higher sensory scores were also given to EO by consumer panelists. No strains of pathogenic bacteria were found in either product. Application of good manufacturing practices and the use of known starter culture seem to be effective methods of improving the quality of Omashikwa.

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