Home Forums African Foods and Recipes THE AFRICAN WALNUT.

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    Grace Amos

      Do you have any idea of what the African Walnut is? Do you know where it is gotten from and what it tastes like?


      The African Walnut is an organic seasonal fruit, an agricultural product mainly grown in West African countries, derived from the “Mother Tree” , the African walnut tree. It is greatly cultivated in the South-West zone of Nigeria that is the Yorubas. The walnut is a popular farm product amongst farmers whose grandparents were owners of walnut farms and is passed on to their children.


      The African Walnut has a black colored pericarp covering the milk-colored round nut inside it. To have the taste of the round nut covered by the pericarp, more like a shell; the shell has to be broken before eating the nut.


      In the Yoruba language, the walnut is called “Asala or Awusa”, in Edo language “Okhue or Okwe”. It is locally called “Ukpa” in Igbo, “Arinsa” in Ebira, and “Kaso or ngak” in Cameroon.


      It has the scientific name “Tetracarpidium conophorum”, from the family of Euphorbiaceae.


      Before the African Walnut’s seed can be edible, it has to be cooked by steaming water with its shell, you know the way eggs are boiled before eating, yes that way.  It is left for like 10 to 15 minutes on fire. The seed kernel has a bitter flavor if it is eaten raw, it is also considered to be tonic. Also, it can be baked in an oven by placing the raw nut in a pan and allowed to bake for like 15 to 20 minutes. It can serve as a healthy snack.


      The African Walnut has a range of benefits to people, the kernel is a good source of vitamins. It also has oil which has medicinal value while used for massaging. It is good for the heart, and boosts sperm production. It is good for weight loss, helps with sleeping disorders, and helps with diabetes and irregular menstrual flow.


      Other health importance includes; improving brain function, boosting the immune system, and reducing prostate and breast cancer risk. Walnut can also be used in making soup as it can substitute Egusi, a West African dish made from melon.


      The African Walnut tree is also grown in tropical West African countries like Sierra Leone and Angola.


      Because of its health importance and uses, people always await the yearly arrival of African Walnuts in Lagos markets, in Nigeria. The walnut is often sold in its cooked form by street hawkers to people. These street hawkers are usually seen at bus terminals.



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