Palm fruits are the main source of palm oil use in cooking foods and for some traditional remedies, though the trees (palm trees) which the palm fruits are usually obtained from are available in abundance within Africa, their availability did not make the refining and processing of the palm fruits a common thing in Africa since only a few people have the knowledge of how these palm fruits were processed and refined to obtain palm oil from them.
To make the situation worst the price of palm oil has recently increased by 50% such that everyone now sees the need to seek for alternative especially the individuals who cannot afford the prices in the market. In the real African lifestyle it had been in our culture to use palm oil for cooking, observation will prove it that about 80% of Africa dishes contain palm oil of different quantities in it, therefore no one could say I cannot use palm oil to cook because it is very costly in the market rather they would seek for a replacement to the market palm oil, and the only option for that is to go for palm fruits, though the palm fruits are sold in the market at a very low price when compared to a small bottle of palm oil it can still be fetched locally from any nearby palm trees during its season that their palm fruits start falling down.
The idea of going for the palm fruits is not bad but the question is, do you know how to process it? Can you be able to refine the fruits and obtain a good quantity of palm oil from it? These and many other questions are what you needed to know before taking such decision.
OBTAINING THE PALM FRUITS
There are two major ways to obtain the palm fruits one of them is to buy it directly from the market; while the other is to source it locally in a nearby forest that has palm trees in them.
The initial way is faster and the best option for those dwelling in the cities while the second option is usually the best for those living in the rural areas. But among all, if you know how to process and refine them, it will be cheaper and better if you have someone supplying fresh palm fruits to you for processing and refining than buying at costly prices in the market.
Using evening to take a walk around the forest having palm trees could be a source of gathering the palm fruits as they are always seen on the ground just within the bottom of the tree. Their falling occurs when they are ripe and the action of birds and animals climbing the tree cause the ripped fruits to fall off to the ground.
WASH AND STEAM BOIL THE PALM FRUITS
This is the next stage, which is very simple just gather all the fruits inside a bow, remove the bad ones and the wash them properly with cold water and small quantity of salt, then rinse twice before pouring them into pot for cooking, depending on the size of the pot and the quantity of palm fruits in it the cooking can take up to one hour, but the best way to know if the palm fruits are ready for next stage is by bring out about two or three of with a spoon and chew them one after the other if the tastes do not give any sign of raw taste.
PROCESSING THE PALM FRUITS
Then the water in the pot will be poured out while the palm fruits will be poured in a wooden mortar and pound with a pestle for about 20mins until all the skins have been peeled off and the whole parts of the fruits have been properly ground by the pestle. The palm fruits will be poured out into a bowl and squeeze severally with hands and addition of warm water until the only visible part of the palm fruits is the chaff of the skin and the kernel seeds inside the palm fruits. After that, pour the whole content together into a sieving bow that can allow the water contained in the squeezed palm fruits pass through the bowl, squeeze the palm fruits in the bowl to ensure all the water escape into the collecting bowl below the sieving bow that has small holes beneath it, repeat this stage with another warm water up to three times until the reddish color that they possess turn to yellowish leaving no trace of liquid and softened parts of the palm fruits.
The whole water gathered together after the sieving process is poured into a pot for boiling.
REFINING THE PALM FRUITS
The water collected and poured into a pot for boiling after the sieving process, will be placed on a stove to boil for another longer period such that its yellow color will start disappearing over some time, and during this stage the pot should be removed from the heating stove and the whole content is allowed to cool.
SEPERATING THE PALM OIL
To separate the red palm oil, you will gradually pour the content into another bowl until the whole red oil has been collected.
If any difficulty is experienced while doing it, you can boil the content again or repeatedly and remove the red palm oil floating on its surface until no trace of the oil is seen on the surface of the remaining content. Nevertheless, the remaining content is not just ordinary water but still have lots of palm oil molecules mixed with it so many people use it to cook soup without even using the main red palm oil they obtained.
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