Gundruk is obtained from the fermentation of leafy vegetables. It is served as a side dish with the main meal and is also used as an appetiser. Gundruk is an important source of minerals particularly during the off-season when the diet consists of mostly starchy tubers and maize which tend to be low in minerals (Karki, 1986).
Preparation of raw materials
The recipe may include mustard, radish and cauliflower leaves. Leaves are allowed to wilt for one or two days and then shredded with a knife or sickle.
Shredded leaves are tightly packed in an earthenware pot and warm water (at about 30oC) is added to cover all the leaves. The pot is then kept in a warm place. After five to seven days, a mild acidic taste indicates the end of fermentation and the gundruk is removed and sun-dried. This process is similar to sauerkraut production except that no salt is added to the shredded leaves prior to gundruk fermentation. The ambient temperature at the time of fermentation is about 18oC (Jones, 1994), (Karki, 1986).
Pediococcus and Lactobacillus species are the predominant micro-organisms during gundruk fermentation. The fermentation is initiated by L. cellobiosus and L. plantarum, and other homolactics make a vigorous growth from the third day onwards. Pediococcus pentosaceus increases in number on the fifth day and thereafter declines (Karki et al,1983). During fermentation, the pH drops slowly to a final value of 4.0 and the amount of acid (as lactic) increases to about 1% on the sixth day.
It has been found that a disadvantage with the traditional process of gundruk fermentation is the loss of 90% of the carotenoids, probably during sun-drying. Improved methods of drying might reduce the vitamin loss (Aidoo, 1992).
Mr. Mike Battcock and Dr. Sue Azam-Ali