What is dried fermented locust beans(Iru)?
Dried locust beans is dehydrated fermented food condiment produced from the dehulled seeds removed from the pods of the African locust tree fruits ; Parkia biglobosa, family Mimosaceae.
Most locust beans pods are dried and processed into carob powder used as an alternative to cocoa powder.
The use of fermented food condiment as food seasoning and dietary nutritional source is very popular in most African communities .
What’s fermented food condiment?
Fermented food flavoring condiments are the final food products formed from the fermentation activities of microorganisms on vegetable proteins trapped in legumes or oil seeds origin.
What are examples of fermented food condiments?
Fermented food condiments include fermented African locust bean called Iru in Yoruba language of West Africa.
Iru is a fermented seasoning that has long been utilized by several tribes in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, particularly the Yoruba and Edo people.
Other examples of fermented food condiments of African origin are ogiri from fermented melon seeds (Citrullus vulgaris), daddawa and soumbala from fermented soybean (Glycine max), ugba from African oil bean seed (Pentaclethra macrophylla), Okpehe from the fermented seeds of Prosopis africana, Ogiri okpei from fermented Bambara groundnut and owoh from cotton seeds (Gossypium hirsutum).
These fermented food condiments are very rich in nutrients and known to be good dietary sources of proteins and vitamins.
Is Iru the same as ogiri?
No. Iru is the name the Yoruba call fermented condiment produced from fermented African locust bean (Parkia biglobosa),it is called dawadawa in Hausa.
However ,Ogiri is the name the igbos call the traditionally prepared fermented condiments from the African melon seeds.
Can IRU (fermented African Locust beans) spoil?
Fresh iru is usually preserved with high salt content and can be stored in that state for days or in refrigerators for a few weeks. Storage in freezers will take much longer .
However, dried Iru,when kept properly in a cool and dry place, can remain fresh for months.
How is fermented locust beans(iru) made?
Home made fermented locust beans is produced by the traditional method by:
📍 rinse the locust beans in water .
📍 boil the locust bean seeds in water and cook for 1hr,
📍 dehull the seeds (if not already dehulled) to remove the hulls ,
📍transfer the cooked dehulled seeds into a calabash lined with fresh banana leaves or inside sealable plastic (you may add some small amount of iru left from a previous stock to the content in the calabash/plastic container),
📍seal the container and wrap it severally with jute sack.
📍Leave to ferment for 2 to 5 days.
Add some salt to reduce further fermentation and improve its flavour,tast and aroma.
To dehydrate, dry the fermented locust beans in a vacuum or by sun-drying.
For modern process of producing dry fermented locust beans, check out the chart below
What does dried locust beans taste like?
Dried fermented locust beans has a meaty taste which ranges from mild to pungent.
Dried locust beans has been used for hundreds of years due to its delicious and healthful properties and benefits.
Dried locust beans are rich in protein and natural fats. It has a natural flavour which makes dishes savory.
Are locust beans edible?
Yes. The seeds, young locust pods of the black carob pods, and the fermented locust bean seeds are edible.
However, the bark and leaves contain cyanides which makes them cyanogenic; toxic, based on several reports.
Shelled seeds are safe to be harvested from summer through fall, and are edible both raw and/or proached.
What is the benefit of dried locust beans?
Based on research, it has been shown that locust bean helps to promote good sight and drives away cardiovascular disease and other diseases conditions such as stroke, diabetes and some other polgenic disorders.
It also incorporates tannins, astringent substances found in several plants.
Apart from the flavouring attributes of dried fermented locust beans, research have proven that this fermented food condiment contributes significantly to the intake of proteins, essential amino acids, fatty acids and vitamins B particularly riboflavin ( fermented locust beans contain the highest riboflavin content when it is compared to many other common plant foods ).
It has been authoritatively documented in ISSN: 2348-4330 that the fermented African locust bean (Iru/Dawadawa) is sufficiently adequate to meet the FAO/WHO recommended daily allowance of protein of 0.591g/kg body weight for an average healthy individual if consumed daily.
It has less significant anti nutrition trypsin inhibitor compared to other some fermented vegetable proteins and oils.
It’sconsumption is good for diabetics and weight loss program because it’s low in carbohydrates as mostly of its carbs have leached out during the fermentation process and prolonged use of its glucose for respiration by the fermenting microorganisms.
In summary, fermented locust beans is high protein low carb food good for blood sugar and dietary weight gain control.
Iru is rich in tannins and as such it is used as home remedy for treating gastrointestinal discomforts such as diarrhoea and ulcer.
Iru contains high amount of free radical mopping antioxidants capable of detoxifying the body . Interestingly, the anti-oxidizing properties of extracts from the fruits are so remarkable and very similar to the anti-oxidizing effect of Vitamin C (ascorbic acid).
Do you wash dried locust beans?
You may need to rinse dried fermented locust beans produced by the traditional method as it may contain tiny trace of stone or sand residue from the traditional processing method of making the dried locust beans.
However, premium brands of dried locust beans usually go through a higher grade of purification and typically are stone free and sand residue free. The dried locust beans may be milled into coarse powder , packaged and sold as fermented locust beans Iru powder.
Why does locust beans smell so bad?
The release of ammonia is one of the evidences of alkaline fermentation such as the one that happens during the production of fermented locust beans(Iru) from its fresh seeds.
This fermentation process, done by mostly useful bacteria ,converts the large sized proteins in the seeds into easily digestible amino acids with release of ammonia.
However, the seasoning’s signature pungent aromas, comes from the tannins that become more prominent during the process of fermentation process. These tannins are useful dietary nutrients.
What are the organoleptic properties of fermented locust beans?
In appearance, the colour of fermented locust beans ranges from light brown to deep brown or greyish black, the aroma can be mild to almost pungent while in texture, the fermented locust beans are soft , brittle and crumbly.
The dried locust beans has a greater shelf life,far less sticky, more cost effective and enjoys greater appeal for culinary use especially among most urban dwellers.
What is the nutritional value of dried fermented locust beans?
The nutrition status of dried locust beans iru is as stated below:
Crude Protein: 31.2% – 47.4%
Ash: 3.3% – 6.8%,
Fat: 31.20% – 42.9%
What is the best brand of Dried Fermented Locust Beans(Iru)?
Dried Locust Beans by DIFL® Foods.
How To Get Dried Fermented Locust Beans (Iru) Free Sample
This premium brand of Iru by DIFL Foods comes absolutely free.
Check out the DIFL Foods dried locust beans below