While sitting thinking about the first bush story and wondering what to write about because there's so much going on around the bush, all just as interesting as the other and each one could make an amazing bush story, then it hit me like a fruit falling from a tree.
So, for our first bush story we will be talking about the well sought after (for both humans as well as animal) marula tree and its delicious fruits.
The marula tree (Sclerocarya birrea) is one of the more common tree species around the woody savanna area and is also known by some as the elephant tree. Why elephant tree you may ask, and there’s a very good reason for that, see the thing with marula tree is that they drop their fruits generally between the months of January through until March with majority of the fruits dropping in February and it’s during this time that one can find many elephants underneath this tree feeding on the fruits.
But, it’s not only the elephants that loves these fruits, baboons, impala, monkeys and many other species can be found around the tree, taking the opportunity the boost their vitamin C intake by feeding on the marula fruit, it’s said that the marula fruit contains as much as 4 times the Vitamin C that one can find in an orange.
It's not just the animals that love the fruits it’s also very sought after by humans as it can provide a bit more income during those months of fruiting.
The fruits are collected by many local communities and sold to companies such as Amarula for producing the Amarula cream liqueur, others use the fruit to produce beer as well as a very tasty jam that they later sell or enjoy by themselves.
The fruit can be described as green plum sized fruit that turns yellowish when ripe, the fruit texture is made up from pulp, very much the same as a litchi fruit, the fruit contains a hard kernel within the pulp, the kernel can be opened for the nut, these nuts can be eaten raw/roasted or grinded down to a powder that can be added to food, the nut oil is also used in cosmetics and skin products.
Many insect species also call the marula tree home as they feed on the leaves, a very common insect species that can be found around the marula tree is the unique looking Lunar moth, the tree will serve as a host plant for the lunar moth larval. Some locals will then collect the empty lunar moth cocoons and turn them into ankle rattles for producing local music around the fire as well as performing traditional cultural dances by filling the empty cocoons with small pebbles.
This week I've been collecting buckets of marula fruit and will be attempting to make my very own marula beer, a task that can't be taken lightly as this take many attempts to get it just right.
My recipe is as follows:
Collect as many fruits as you can, when you think you have enough collect more just for in case because you will have to remove the skins of the fruit and when you only left with the pulp the amount will be way smaller then what you thought you would have.
As soon as you have collected the fruits remove the skins by cutting the fruit along its equator and squeezing the fruits contains into a bucket.
Next step will be to add water until all the fruits are fully submerged, then you will have to mash up the contains with a potato masher, you should also add some sugar at this stage as it will help the fermentation process and sweeten the beer, rule is 1 cup the every 2 liters of water you added.
Cover the bucket and leave for 3-4 day remember to release the pressure once a day, on day 4 you can open bucket and remove the foam from the top, your beer can be bottled after foam has been removed, leave bottled beer in a cool place for 1-2 day furthermore.
The last step will be to open bottle and enjoy your very own homemade marula beer.
Best enjoyed ice cold after a long day of safari!
If you were planning on making your very own Marula beer or Marula Jam, let us know how it came out.
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Cheers until next time!
The Safari.Reinhardt Team