Wednesday, 17th August 2022
<To guardian.ng
Search
Breaking News:

Garri: The Black Man’s Gold With A Speck Of Impurities

By Ishola Joshua
24 July 2022   |   2:40 pm
Garri is a common staple that appeals to all classes; the rich and the layman. It’s an edible ‘gold’ you don’t dig up from a quarry or go into a tourism expedition to extract. Every ethnic group in Nigeria hones the arts and crafts of its production. Over the years, regardless of the unbearable hike…

photographer: Greg DuPree, Food Stylist: Martgaret Dickey Prop Stylist: Kay Clarke

Garri is a common staple that appeals to all classes; the rich and the layman. It’s an edible ‘gold’ you don’t dig up from a quarry or go into a tourism expedition to extract. Every ethnic group in Nigeria hones the arts and crafts of its production.

Over the years, regardless of the unbearable hike in its price, everyone’s kitchen cupboard never gets robbed of this golden flour. In West Africa, it is the creamy granular flour obtained by processing the starchy tuberous roots of freshly harvested Cassava.

You can find it easily in any market situated in Nigeria, on mostly every marketer’s wares selling edible goods, coned into different containers for purchase. I can remember during my secondary school years, coining it as ‘‘the students’ saviour’’ was a classical cliché due to its unparalleled worth (traditions might have changed to give out other pseudonyms for this flour).

And although I have not been actively involved in the rigorous processes of Garri production, its production is not in any way changing upon an uncommon scientific discovery.

To make garri flour, cassava tubers are peeled, washed and grated to produce a mash. The mash can be mixed with palm oil and placed in a porous bag, which is then either placed manually under a large stone for days or in an adjustable press machine for 1-3 hours to remove excess water. Once dried, it is then sieved and fried (to remove any left residual water) in a large clay frying pot with or without palm oil. The resulting dry granular garri can be either stored for longer periods or made available for its edible usage.

This granulated flour can be mixed with cold water, groundnuts, sugar and creamy substitutes according to the drinker’s taste, or can be used to prepare other Nigerian meals like Eba (a cooked variant of garri, which is garri boiled in hot water and prepared by kneading into a suitable dough with the use of a wooden baton) and Kokoro (a paste of maize flour, mixed with garri, and sugar and deep-fried).

Aside from these multifaceted purposes and a range of others unlisted, there are health benefits garri serves; such as an antidote for an average person’s hunger and a supply of nutrients to the body. Although garri is a starchy food due to its raw material–Cassava, it is low in calories and with high fibre to help stay full for longer periods; hence, it reduces obesity. Also, because of its ability to absorb toxins from the intestines, garri helps to improve the digestive health of its consumer.

Another health benefit it offers is that it enhances good eyesight due to the presence of vitamin A and bakarotennya which improves the health of one’s eyes and prevents blindness.
When plagued by diarrhoea, a suitable amount of these granules can be soaked in chilled water to abate or cure this running stomach disorder.

Commonly known is garri as an energy booster. This potentially provides a quality amount of energy that enhances good health.
Garri still has some speck of impurities gold is prone to possess before refining. These are side effects its consumers should be wary of, especially when one is excessively indulged in over-usage.

One of the common side effects of over-drinking garri is eye defects. Because garri is made up of cassava that contains hydrocyanide, which is available in large quantities, can lead to serious eye defects.

Furthermore, if it is not properly processed, it can lead to cyanide poisoning, which in turn can lead to intestinal issues, and worsen the case of an ulcer patient.

So, to avoid the side effects of this gold, it is advisable to take it sparingly.