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Palm Wine and my nostalgic feelings by gentleshaid

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· @gentleshaid ·
$12.46
Palm Wine and my nostalgic feelings
<div class="text-justify">

Looking back at my life while growing up and I cannot but come to the conclusion that life is not as uninteresting in the rural areas as most people presume it to be. The fun and adventure associated with growing up in rural areas are second to none with rich luscious vegetation; fresh, cheap and organic foods to eat with clean, unpolluted air to breathe. Take away the internet, the syringe and shots, and the orgy that modern day youths tag as real fun and adventure in the urban areas, an average youth will actually find life in the rural areas to be more preferable.

<center>![wine-4203190_640.jpg](https://cdn.steemitimages.com/DQmZm5wnqfCEDBpuSCWE13XXd66ovRGB5hy3BmYMa3S6sMX/wine-4203190_640.jpg)</center>
<center><sup>Image by <a href="https://pixabay.com/users/hansteky-1874451/?utm_source=link-attribution&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=4203190">hansteky</a> from <a href="https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=4203190">Pixabay</a></sup></center>

Even though I have relocated to an urban area more than 2 decades ago, I recently came across an object that brought a nostalgic feeling of living in rural areas. The object is a carefully bottled and branded palm wine, a beverage that is usually of rural origin derived from different species of palm trees. The sighting of the alcoholic drink reminded me of some of the adventures we (myself and my peer) usually engage in while growing up in one of the rural areas in South-western Nigeria. 

Palm wine used to be one of the objects of our adventure back in the days. The beverage is tapped locally by professional palm wine tappers using rope climbers, axes or cutlasses, pocket knives and a vessel that will serve to collect the beverage. A typical palm wine tapping session involves the tapper climbing up the trunk of the palm tree to create a hole that reaches the sap of the tree using a pocket knife. The cutlass/ax comes in handy in the process of climbing up as it is used to clear the climbing path in order to get through to the top of the tree where the hole to the sapwood is usually created.

<center>![](https://cdn.steemitimages.com/DQmWXRvRTneUdVC4g1UeAcLe1V63aucdMqtc4XdTCF1SHCG/image.png)</center>
<center><sup>By Stanley 2321 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=64290793</sup></center>

The tapper then inserts an open-ended bamboo tube into the hole with one end in touch with the sapwood and other end connected to a vessel/container which is usually in the form of a gourd or a plastic keg. The sap of the palm tree gradually drains into the vessel through the bamboo tube and the tapper comes at intervals to empty the content into a larger vessel and transport it to the market for sale. While some tappers do not stop draining the sap till the last drop from the tree gets into the vessel, some stop once the rate of draining significantly reduces. 

While the trees subjected to the latter usually recuperate and flourish (and might even be retapped in the nearest future), those subjected to the former process usually wither and die within a short period since the sap serves an important physiological function in the plantโ€™s body. That a palm tree survives or dies after being tapped is usually used as an indication of how skillful a palm wine tapper is.

The majority of the palm wine tappers in those days made use of locally crafted gourds as vessels for collecting the palm saps. The gourds are gotten from the gourd plants in the Cucurbitaceae family and allowed to dry out before being put to use. There are quite a number of plant species that produce these gourds although many of them are now extinct or facing the danger of extinction.

The palm wine in the dry gourd at the top of the palm tree represented a major avenue of fun and adventure for us back then. After we must have returned from the daily farm works, we usually set out to hunt rabbits through the tickets of the lowland rainforest with catapults, local dogs and cutlasses. Upon sighting a palm tree with an attached gourd at the top, we would aim our catapult at the bottom of the gourd and take turn shooting till we are able to create a hole at the bottom of the gourd.

<center>![bottle-gourd-3873644_640.jpg](https://cdn.steemitimages.com/DQmad567xoiTFk93rb1y3nUYfQJneoGkHrojHBWR2i6RnjP/bottle-gourd-3873644_640.jpg)</center>
<center><sup>Image by <a href="https://pixabay.com/users/manfredrichter-4055600/?utm_source=link-attribution&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=3873644">Manfred Richter</a> from <a href="https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=3873644">Pixabay</a></sup></center>

The excitement that usually ensues afterward is indescribable. We use our palms to form improvised cups and take turns to drink as the contents of the gourd spills out from the hole that we have successfully created. It was only on a very few occasions we did not get back home drunk. Need I say that we usually face the music each time because the concerned tappers will eventually report us to the village head.  

Up till today, palm wine is not just an important beverage drink in the rural areas of tropical zones where different species of palm trees grow, a lot of urbanites find it indispensable as well. Apart from its recreational use, it also has symbolic cultural use in some ethnic groups in Nigeria, especially in the Eastern part of the country where [โ€˜palm wine carryingโ€™]( https://naijaglamwedding.com/igba-nkwu-wine-carrying/2/) is one of the numerous processes involved in traditional marriage.

Freshly tapped palm wine has as much as 4% alcohol as a result of fermentation of the palm sap by yeasts, lactic acid bacteria, and acetic acid bacteria. During fermentation, the sugary palm sap is slowly converted to alcohol as a result of enzymatic activities of these microorganisms. Within a few days, the alcohol content can be as high as 5.28% as a consequence of increased activities of the organisms.

Nutritionally, a liter of freshly tapped palm wine of about two to three hours old is known to contain about 300 calories, 0.5 โ€“ 2g protein and a significant amount of vitamins. The drink has also been reported in various quarters as having several medicinal and health benefits although these are largely anecdotal and remain unconfirmed scientifically.

Thank you all for reading.
</div>

### Resources

* https://www.atlasobscura.com/foods/palm-wine
* https://www.mdpi.com/2306-5710/2/2/9/htm
* https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/palm-wine
* https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/dc89/3297a83382291ff4836963f862fb9a4f9af7.pdf
* https://www.pulse.ng/lifestyle/beauty-health/palm-wine-the-health-benefits-of-this-drink-will-amaze-you/z9t5beb
๐Ÿ‘  , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and 261 others
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@steem-plus ·
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@chappertron ·
$0.03
Thanks for the article.

Used to I worked in a wine research institute. But I never heard about things like this. Now I'm looking for distributors for palm wine in Germany. But without luck. Want to taste it.

Let's see

Best

Chapper
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@gentleshaid ·
Unless it is imported, not sure you can get palm wine in Germany. The palm tree is limited to the Tropics, I guess Germany falls within the Temperate zones.
๐Ÿ‘  ,
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@chappertron ·
Let's wait a few years ;-)
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@steemstem ·
re-gentleshaid-palm-wine-and-my-nostalgic-feelings-20190707t075624008z
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@utopian-io ·
#### Hi @gentleshaid!

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@tomlee ·
Palm wine is purely natural and has quite a lot of health benefits. But when taken in excess could intoxicate due to its alcoholic content.

 Did you know palm wine could be used in curing vision impairment?
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@gentleshaid ·
>Did you know palm wine could be used in curing vision impairment?

I have heard a lot of anecdotal evidence about palm wine being used for various ailments including miseasles but I could not really find any published paper on them.
๐Ÿ‘  
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vote details (1)
@alexander.alexis ·
$0.14
0az7dxo3x
> Looking back at my life while growing up

Do not go toward the light!!

Ah, you meant that metaphorically...

Your stories strike a familiar chord, even though they might take a different form in different countries (like shoe tossing over power lines, or stealing traffic cones to use as room decorations). 

> an average youth will actually find life in the rural areas to be more preferable

I think so too, and there's wisdom in returning to our calmer and less populated ways.

We got palm trees in Cyprus but I don't think I ever heard of palm wine. There's not even a Greek entry in the wiki article for it!
๐Ÿ‘  , , , ,
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@agmoore2 ·
$0.05
jx571ft3r
That was a delightful read.  I've never seen a palm tree (in person), but I related to your reminiscence.  My siblings and I used to wander around a forest that reached to our backyard.  Every day was an adventure.  Some of these adventures were unnerving, even dangerous, but when we moved to NYC, nothing could compare.  I think I've always been nostalgic for that very particular freedom to explore.  A little like Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer :)
Thanks for sharing... continents apart, children are really very similar, aren't they? 
๐Ÿ‘  , ,
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