#BlackHistoryEats / Day 06 / Kola nut

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HISTORY /

  • Kola nut (Cola nitida) is actually a fruit from the tropical kola tree and is considered by the Igbo people of Nigeria to be the first tree on earth.
  • The tree grows wild in Liberia and Sierra Leone
  • The kola tree is a beautiful tree that grows upwards of 40 feet tall with huge yellow flowers. The seeds are reddish-brown and are the size of a walnut. 
  • Kola nuts symbolize hospitality and kindness. In West Africa, they are eaten by guests during the wedding ceremony and are seen as a symbol of friendship
  • In the 1800s, John Pemberton combined kola nut extract with coca plant sugars to make the popular beverage now known as Coco-Cola.
  • During the Slave Trade, kola nuts were given to enslaved Africans to suppress hunger and thirst
  • Kola nuts are an important food in many African relgions including Yoruba and is used in worship, ancestor veneration and other sacred ceremonies

NUTRITION /

  • Kola is mostly made up of starch, caffeine and sugar (also it is virtually tasteless!)
  • Kola nuts are in the same family as cacao (raw chocolate) 
  • In West Africa, it is tradition to chew a small piece of kola nut before eatings as it helps aid in digestion
  • In herbal medicine, the nut is soaked in a alcohol to make a medicinal tincture

PREPARATION /

  • Kola nut (Cola nitida) is actually a fruit from the tropical kola tree and is considered by the Igbo people of Nigeria to be the first tree on earth.
  • During Ramadan, soft drinks are made with kola nuts, chili, sugar, and ginger 
  • The Temne and Mandigo people use the kola nuts as a dye