Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Marula Nuts - Food of Kings!

The majestic Marula tree that grows extensively in Swaziland OK, the writer took a little liberty with traditional uses, but other wise a good write up!  As another economic empowerment project in the areas we are working in eastern Swaziland, we are trying to develop a market for marula nuts in the urban areas which are in great supply in Maphiveni and Vuvulane.
Shelled Marula Nuts

By Observer Reporter
The marula tree or umganu, as it is traditionally known, has a long and colourful history and has been a vital part of the culture and health of Southern Africa for thousands of years.
 Indigenous to Swaziland and many other countries in the region, its bark, leaves, fruit and nuts have all been used for centuries as a source of food, traditional medicine and fermented brews and many legends exist about its powers and properties.
... Majestic tree that grows extensively in SD
In parts of Africa, marula is known as the tree that drives elephants mad for the effect it apparently has on the animals when they eat large quantities of fermented fruit off the ground although evidence of this amusing effect is limited.
Marula has also been attributed magical qualities as some believe an infusion of the bark from a male or female tree can determine the gender of an unborn baby. It is also widely believed that Marula has the ability to increase fertility; however it’s possible that this may have more to do the after effects of the strong traditional beer brewed from its fruit that is enjoyed by many!
This brew, Buganu, or Emaganu, is so popular in Swaziland that there is an annual Marula Festival celebrated at the Royal residence of the King at Ebuhleni in the Hhohho region of Swaziland between February and March each year. Both the King and the Queen Mother are presented with marula beer from many households, and only after the royal family has partaken in the ceremony can Swazis themselves drink the beer.
Marula is also a very important source of nutrition and medicinal properties. The fruit and juice contains up to eight times the Vitamin C content of oranges and is high in potassium and the bark contains mild anti-malarial qualities and has been known to cure indigestion and heartburn.
Nutrient-rich marula nut is taken from the seed
But some of the greatest powers of marula lie in the small nut kernels found inside the hard seed at the centre of the fruit.
These nuts are in fact an incredible source of protein, minerals and healthy oils, so rich and nourishing that they have long been referred to in many cultures as the ‘food of Kings’! Analysis shows that the nuts have exceptionally high protein content (30 grams of protein per 100 grams of nuts) and in fact contain higher protein and healthy oil content than other popular nuts including walnuts, chestnuts and almonds. They also contain other essential nutritional components including magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium, zinc and thiamine.
Nuts have long been known as an essential part of a healthy diet and as eating local produce becomes increasingly more environmentally and economically important, Marula nuts are an excellent choice for a nutritious snack or as a tasty addition to porridge, stews and many other dishes. The nuts are a tasty addition to baked cakes, biscuits and breads and are an excellent alternative to recipes calling for other nuts including pine nuts.   Nuts grown and processed by local communities in Swaziland are now available and can be purchased in 100 or 500 gram bags from Pick’nPay stores, Thorny Bush Organics in Mbabane and at Baker’s Corner stores in Matsapha, Ezulwini and Manzini. If you would like more information on the extensive health benefits and the availability of marula nuts in Swaziland email Pastor Daran at or call 76025992.
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