Intoxicating Fruit - Marula
It’s delightful, It’s delectable, It’s Amarula!
Sunset time is time to relax, put your feet up, reflect, and indulge yourself.
Enjoy a glass of Amarula Liqueur either room temperature or splashed over ice cubes.
Sheer elegance when sipped from a crystal glass of course.
Just where does this unique tasting cream liqueur second only to “Old Baily’s” come from, and what is significant about the fruit from which it is made?
The tree on which the Marula fruit is grown is native to Southern Africa and protected in South Africa where the Liqueur is made and exported.
The Marula Tree
Aptly named by locals as “The Great Provider”.
The male Marula tree displays flowers while the female Marula tree produces the fruit. Both species are beautiful and both trees useful in every part from the bark to the leaves. The tree is characterized by it’s grey mattered bark.
Standing 9 – 18 meters (29 - 59 ft) tall they spread their thick crown of foliage to form an ideal shady canopy for the benefit of the native people in Africa as a meeting place, to perform tribal traditions, and celebrate weddings all denoting their appreciation for the tree that brings luck. Yes, how lucky is it to have a tree that can produce fruit to sustain the needy which has been the case since ancient times in Africa.
Benefits of the Marula Tree
A single tree can produce over 500kg of fruit per year. When ripe the fruit has a yellow skin with white flesh which is rich in vitamin C, being about 8 times more than in one orange. A marula fruit is the size of a yellow plum and has a nutty flavor.
Marula is part of the cashew, mango and pistachio family.
THE SKIN OF THE FRUIT
The skin when boiled makes a drink and when burnt can be a substitute for coffee.
The fruit is used to make jelly, juices, alcoholic drinks, jams, beer and wine.
It is the basis for the cream liqueur I recommended for a sundowner.
THE OILS WITHIN
Marula oil from the edible kernels are a delicious additive to meals in African cooking.
Rich in oleic acid it will improve skin hydration and smoothness. It is used in modern cosmetic formulations. In addition, it is used as a hair treatment.
The leaves make a relish and when chewed can relieve heartburn. The essence from the leaves is a remedy for bites and burns.
The bark of the marula tree has medicinal purposes ie- the treatment of malaria, bites and to stop pain. The inner bark is used to make rope and the soft wood is good for carving craft-ware, bowls, drums, stools and canoes.
The gum from the stem when mixed with water and soot makes an ink ideal for markings on carvings and skin of the tribes.
The Amarula Liqueur is made with sugar, cream and the fruit of the tree. It has a slightly fruity/caramel flavor.
AFRICAN BOOZ for WILD ANIMALS
A popular centuries old myth is that elephants and other animals get intoxicated on the marula fruit.
The fruit is a delicacy for most of the animals in the African savanna but in particular the elephant. Herds of elephant roam from afar to gorge themselves. Also, kudu and baboon in particular.
Tipsy they seem to be but this notion can be disputed when you consider the huge amount of marulas an elephant would have to eat to be tipsy and with the large water intake each day the fruit would be diluted.
Whatever the conclusion, I’ll relax now with a glass of Amarula and ponder over the age old issue.