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What is Palm Wine

What is Palm Wine, Uses and How to Make

Palm Wine is perhaps the most time-honored and universal moonshine in sub-Saharan Africa. 

What is Palm Wine

Palm wine or white drink is an alcoholic beverage widely consumed in West, South and Central Africa. People of Africa have for centuries tapped the sap found in palm trees and let it ferment to make a popular alcoholic beverage created from the sap of various species of palm tree.

Drinking Palm Wine
Drinking Palm Wine

Drinking Palm Wine

Palm Wine taste variety from sweet to sour to vinegary. The sap used to create palm wine is most often taken from wild date palms. The alcohol content most commonly is about 1-13% by volume. 

The amount of alcohol in the wine depends on the stage at which it is drunk. If drunk fresh, it will contain most of its sugar, and so will taste sweet. Very soon, the fermentation causes very copious bubbling and foaming from the container, and more alcohol is produced.

Palm Wine Fermentation
Palm Wine Fermentation in Nigeria

Palm Wine Fermentation

The sap of certain palms contains a lot of sugar plus nutrients that are essential for yeast growth. 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.

Palm Wine Fermentation
Fermenting Palm Wine in Ghana

In The Gambia Palm Wine is extracted from the palm tree by palm wine tappers, most often Bainunka men who climb the trunk using a strap made from rope or leaves called a kajandak. Palm wine was once the region's main social drink, however the spread of beer and foreign liquor has in part curbed the demand for the more traditional drink.

Palm Wine Tapper
Palm Wine Tapper

Palm Wine Tapper

The sap is extracted and collected by a tapper. Typically, the sap is collected from the cut flower of the palm tree. A container is fastened to the flower stump to collect the sap. The white liquid that initially collects tends to be very sweet and non-alcoholic before it is fermented.

Straining Palm Wine
Straining Palm Wine

Straining Palm Wine

Palm wine has some cultural medical applications with significant importance. It is a great source of Vitamin B and directly used in Nigerian rural Communities for treating Measles in Children. 

The alcohol in Palm Wine evaporates while the food is cooking, and only the flavor remains. Boiling down wine concentrates the flavor. 

Consumed straight from the tree, palm wine is a non-alcoholic drink and said by some to have medicinal qualities, especially for the digestive system.

Palm Wine for sale in Ghana
Palm Wine for sale in Ghana

Palm Wine for sale

Palm-wine is a very popular drink in Nigeria; it is also common in places like Ghana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, and some countries in Asia. Palm wine has a strong cultural significance among Africans. It is used at important traditional ceremonies like marriages, worship rites and other festivals.

Cooking with Palm Wine
Cooking with Palm Wine

Cooking with Palm Wine

Palm tree sources of Palm Wine differs from place to place. African countries of Mozambique, Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, and Democratic Republic of Congo have the most varied 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 of Nigeria prefer to tap their Palm wine from Raffia Palm. Igbos are known to take to tapping Palm Wine from Oil Palm Trees.

Chic African Culture

Palm Wine in Africa

Africa prides itself on its history traditional alcohol brewing. There are many many names for Palm wine depending on what village, town, region or country you visit in Africa.

Read more facts and food recipes about Africa

African people are praised for proverbs, history, traditions, and struggles. African people are extremely diverse within each African country. Made up of numerous tribes and people of many religious, social and ethnic groups within the geographical boundaries of the African country African borders are at times arbitrary. Learn more about Africa.

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