Fermented Milk Products From All Over the World • Ergo (Ethiopia)
Ergo is considered the African version of yogurt. When making ergo, Ethiopians don’t use specific bacterial cultures, as the product is obtained through natural and spontaneous fermentation of the milk. Ergo can be made of our cow’s, camel’s, or goat’s milk, according to availability. It has a white colour, thick consistency, smooth texture, and slightly sour taste. While it is mainly homemade, ergo is also commercially produced and available in stores around Ethiopia. In some parts, ergo is prepared in smoked vessels, which slows down the development of bacteria. Thus, it takes more to make ergo in these vessels, anywhere between 2 to 4 days, but the method is used not just because it contributes to the flavour of ergo, as it also reduces the risk for the development of unwanted bacteria. The temperature required for the process is between 16 to 18 degrees Celsius, which turns fresh milk into a product that can be stored up to 20 days without getting spoiled if the temperature is the right one. Rich in proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates, and fat, ergo is consumed by a high number of people and in a variety of ways. While some like it plain, others enjoy adding various spices to ergo, like coriander or green peppers. Also, it is served with savoury dishes as well.