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Palmwine - Uses and Importance of the Palm Wine
The tasty Sap of Palm Tree, known as Palm Wine, is a product of different Palm Tree species made Solely by natural forces. Fresh Palm wine is a sweet sugary Liquid, that becomes alcoholic with time, due to the fermentation action of natural wild Yeast.
Palm Wine is obtained from Palm Tree by the process of 'Palm Wine Tapping'. People who tap Palm Wine are specialised individuals called 'Palm Wine Tappers'. A typical 'Palm Wine Tapper' should have a Climbing Rope, a short Cutlass for cutting Palm Fronds, a Tapping Knife, and a small Gallon.
Palm Wine tapping involves cutting off the Palm Fronds to expose the soft tissues at the top of the Palm Tree. The 'Tapping Knife' is used to pierce a hole into the tissue to allow for the exit of the Palm Wine. Specially carved tiny Bamboo, hollow metallic Pipes, or other instruments; are connected to the Hole to convey the Wine to the Gallon. The Gallon could be tied to the Palm tree with a rope in the case of a standing Palm Tree, or simply supported by sticks in Felled Palm Trees.
Felling of Palm Trees is a very tedious Task. Holes and Cutlasses are used to dig around the tree and cut through its fibrous Root. The trees are usually allowed to fall on a support that would allow to partially incline on a support in a way that allows a rapid flow of its liquid content from the Root to the Shoot. Some Palm Wine Tappers prefer to use dry Shrubs to burn the tree, heating up the internal liquid contents before tapping.
Tapping Palmwine from Standing Palm Tree
Palm Wine related Materials
Uses of Palm wine
Palm wine is an integral Part of some West African Society. The Bond between Palm wine and the People of South-East and South-South Nigeria dates back to precolonial times. As kola nut is powerful, so is the Palm wine. While the local Gin product of Palm wine is more popular in coastalcommunities, the Ibos had and still has a direct relationship with crude Palm wine. You see its importance as an essential drink in traditional Ibo Ceremonies like the Ibo native law and Custom, Traditional Festivals, and other local and traditional gatherings.
The Nigerian Oguro and the south African Ubusulu are the same name for what has become the source of traditional Ethanol Gin called Ogogoro and Akpeteshi in Nigeria and Ghana respectively. Nowhere is the economic Power of the Palm wine is more powerful than in making the "African Vodka".
Palm wine also has some medical application and a huge Social-Cultural importance. It's a great source of Vitamin B and also directly used in Nigerian rural Communities for treating Measles in Children.
Bottled Palm wine
Tapping Palm Wine from Felled Palm Tree
Bakery and Preservative use of Palm Wine
Indians are known to use Fermentation due to the wild yeast content of Palm wine to produce Produce special Local Bread. Knowledge from this practice could be instrumental in improving the Art of baking in Africa. The extra cost of Importation of baking yeast could be averted if specially cultured Palm wine yeast are produced in commercial value. The Yeast could also be combined with other locally source materials and used to develop other baked food products like Cakes and Biscuits.
Ethanol is a reputable Food Preservative and Agent of Sterilization. Local Gin prepared from Palm wine contains a considerable amount of Ethanol that it is easily labelled ETHANOL. Further purification could produce a purer form. Bacteria Oxidation of Palm wine could also produce Ethanoic acid which could combine with locally made Lye and the Ethanol to make a potent Food Preservative.
Types of Palm Trees for making Palm Wine
Palm Tree Sources of Palm wine differs from place to place. African Countries [like Mozambique, Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroun, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), etc.] have the most diversified types of Palm Tree for extracting Palm wine. Oil Palm tree and Raffia Palm are the most popular in West Africa. Indigenous people living in or close to swampy Areas (e.g the Urhobos, Ijaws, Itsekiris of Nigeria) prefer to tap their Palm wine from Raffia Palm. While the Ibos are known to take to tapping their wine from Oil Palm Trees.
The Indians and people from some countries of South-East Asia make Palm wine from a rather unique source: the Coconut; though they also extract Palm wine from Palmyra like some African Countries. Some other Palm Tree sources of Palm wine that are not very popular includes: Jaggery Palm, Date Palm, Kitu Palms, Nipa Palms, etc.
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