I know, so many would have started wondering what I want to unveil from palm wine. Any which way, palm wine remains a very nourishing drink for all. Let me tell you more about this wine. Palm Wine is the juice of some varieties of palm trees, including the African oil palm, the Raphia Palm, and the Date Palm.
The juices of these palms contain a lot of sucrose, the table sugar, plus nutrients that are essential for yeast growth. The juices are tapped, usually by climbing the palm trees with loops made from palm fronds. Although some palms are felled and tapped, the quality of wine obtained from them is not considered as good as those from standing trees. Tapping palm trees for the juice is a skilled art. The tapper must know the exact spot to make his incision for the maximum flow of the juice. It must not be too shallow or too deep into the tree.
After collection by the tapper, the palm wine needs fermentation by wild yeasts from the tree, and those previously present in the container. Alcoholic state of the palm wine depends on the time of drinking. Fermentation of palm wine cannot be controlled, when taking palm wine fresh, it would taste really nice, sweet. But as fermentation begins, very copious bubbling and foaming from the container and more alcohol is produce although water can be used to dilute it. Further fermentation would lead to formation of acid such as acetic acid by bacteria.
Palm wine has a strong cultural significance among Africans. It is used at important traditional ceremonies like marriages, worship rites and other festivals. Although other types of wine are available, palm wine is irreplaceable for its well-known health benefits as well as its cultural significance among Africans, especially the people of West Africa.
Uses of Palm wine
As kola nut is powerful, so is the Palm wine. While the local Gin product of Palm wine is more popular in coastal communities, the Ibos had and still have a direct relationship with crude Palm wine. It importance is felt in the 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.
Palm wine has great deal in medicine as it a great source of Vitamin B and also directly used in Nigerian rural Communities for treating Measles in Children.
The Yeast obtained from Palm Wine could also be combined with other locally source materials and used to develop other baked food products like Cakes and Biscuits.
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. Other Palm Tree sources of Palm wine that are not very popular includes: Jaggery Palm, Date Palm, Kitu Palms, Nipa Palms, etc
Palm wine remains a great drink in African and its importance cannot be underemphasized.
By: Nathanael Ade