Preparation and Consumption of Shameta: An Indigenous Cereal-based Fermented Porridge in Western Ethiopia
Background: Shameta is a traditionally fermented porridge consumed by lactating mothers in Wollega Zones, western Ethiopia. However, so far, there have been no scientific data describing the ingredients used, the processing techniques applied, and the specific use of the food.
Objective: The objective of this study was to assess the production and utilization practices of traditionally produced Shameta as food for lactating mothers.
Materials and Methods: A community-based cross-sectional study was conducted to collect data from 150 lactating mothers using a semi-structured questionnaire. The data were analyzed employing descriptive statistics by using the IBM Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20 for Windows.
Results: The results of the study showed that 37.3% of respondents prepare Shameta from a combination of barley (95%) and maize (5%), followed by maize alone (33.3%) as primary ingredients. Almost all the respondents (93.3%) used rapeseed as a source of oil for making of the food. The preparation process included cleaning, milling the grains, and roasting the spices before grinding, and fermenting the product in two phases: The flours are mixed into the dough and fermented for a period of one to five days. The
fermented dough is cooked into a porridge followed by the second phase of fermentation for 14 to 30 days. The fermented product is consumed either as the main dish or as a side dish. From the food safety point of view, most of the respondents (88.7%) had the opinion that there is no health problem associated with the consumption of the product.
Conclusion: Shameta is a fermented porridge made mainly from the combination of maize and barley, oilseeds, spices, and herbs to stimulate breast milk production and enhance recovery among lactating mothers. A combined effect of fermentation and cooking could contribute to better physicochemical properties, nutritional compositions, and product safety. Therefore, the information generated in this study will help to characterize the product and optimize ingredients and processing conditions to produce a better
quality product for better milk production, rapid postpartum recovery, and strength of lactating mothers.
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