A Healthier Alternative to the Usual Fish Sauce
With the increasing demand for functional food and healthier options, let’s take a look at the University-developed low-salt fermented mussel sauce.
Mussel or tahong is one of the abundant cultured bivalves in the country. It is a common aquaculture commodity in many coastal municipalities, particularly in Western Visayas, Samar, Manila Bay, and Cavite. The post-harvest utilization of this commodity was taken into another level by Ms. Ernestina M. Peralta, a University Researcher from the Institute of Fish Processing Technology, by making it as an alternative to the usual fish sauce or patis.
Fermentation is one of the traditional food preservation methods in the Philippines. One of the most common fermented products that exists in local markets is fish sauce which can be associated with high amounts of salt. Mussel, as an alternative to fish, was utilized in the production of this Philippine ethnic fermented product, patis. The meat was mixed with salt, homogenized, and allowed to ferment for a period of time. After the fermentation process, the liquid part was separated from its residue (unhydrolyzed meat), and this was pasteurized to terminate further fermentation.
Characterized by its yellowish-brown color, sweet-smelling aroma with the typical characteristics of a fermented product, this liquid sauce is truly promising in terms of sensorial properties composed of soluble proteins and minerals with low sodium content. This nutritious innovation offers health benefits derived from its functional properties.
Currently, the mussel sauce project takes a leap forward under the Technology Transfer and Business Development Office (TTBDO).The TTBDO will assist them gain industry partners where the researchers can train workers in order to attain technical knowledge as well as produce the product on a bigger scale. This could help them point out and address loopholes in the production process as well as verify the profitability of the product.
Since consumers nowadays are choosing healthier options for their food intake, this product holds a great opportunity to target a niche market that requires a low sodium diet, but it can also be at par with various commercial and high-end fish sauce brands. Providing an additional value to mussels, this can help integrate participation of communities, increasing the income of mussel farmers as well as provide employment opportunities to the people.