Processing technology and safety of ‘Kpukpuru’: An indigenous weaning food in Nigeria’s rural communities. (276)
Keywords:Cassava, Kpukpuru, Fortify, Hydrocyanic acid, Utilization, Digestible
AbstractKpukpuru is a fermented cassava staple which is gaining attraction as a weaning food in the rural communities of the riverine areas of Ondo State of Nigeria. Cassava is harvested, peeled, washed, fermented, dehydrated, moulded into large balls, and kept over a fireplace to smoke-dry in order to preserve the product for months or years. This cassava product is consumed by both young and adults but its novel use as a weaning diet for babies from four months upwards is intriguing. The fermentation and pressing remove considerable hydrocyanic acid (HCN) and lowers pH while the smoking completely eliminates HCN and gelatinizes its starch granules rendering it easily digestible by babies. Mothers in these villages scrape off the smoky part, break the dried moulded balls, pound them, and sieve out the powdered cassava flour. This is stirred with hot water (just as custard or maize pap). Some mothers feed babies with this preparation alone and support with breast milk. Elite ones fortify it with baby milk. The improved technology incorporating soya bean powder or paste into the Kpukpuru gruel will go a long way to alleviate the malnutrition that is occasioned by feeding Kpukpuru alone to children.