Ghana Month Special: Dive Into Local Drinks

Ghana boasts an array of local drinks that offer a heavenly taste. In today’s installment of our Ghana Month series, we delve into various local beverages in Ghana, their production processes, and health benefits.

Asaana

This locally made non-alcoholic beverage, derived from corn and caramelized sugar, is known as alewonyo in the Ashanti region and originates from the Volta region. Typically sold by women in markets, it’s served chilled with ice cubes in large calabashes. Asaana is poured into mini rubber bags and pairs excellently with milk under sunny weather conditions. Healthwise, it aids in preventing heart conditions, lowering blood pressure, guarding against constipation, hemorrhoids, and colorectal cancer, preventing anemia, and offering antioxidant properties to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and neural tube defects at birth.

Sobolo

Some people also call it bissap(that’s how the senegalese call it)  in Ghana. This is by far the most consumed local drink in Ghana. This drink is made from hibiscus leaves, ginger and pineapple juice. You can make for yourself at home. All you have to do is boil the hibiscus leaves, add your ginger and pineapple to it.  Let it cool down for a while and store in the refrigerator. It can be taken anytime of the day either with a spicy meal or as desert. Sobolo drinks help ease menstrual cramps, weight loss, reduce anxiety and depression, decrease the risk of heart diseases, lower LDL cholestrol levels, prevent the growing of precancerous cells, serve us with anti-aging benefits and protect the liver from damage.

Palmwine

This an alcoholic beverage made from the sap of various species of palm trees. The sap is extracted from the tallest sections of the plant. The extraction method involves inserting a small fire into the trunk of a felled palm tree to release its sap. In the olden days, it was collected into big gallons. The white sap is left to ferment with the yeast present in the air. Two hours are enough to develop the alcoholic component in palmwine. Healthwise, palm wine promotes lactation, improves eyesight, reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases and maintains a healthier skin, hair and nail.

Brukina

It is a fermented beverage made from cow milk and millet. It is also called “nunu”or “deger” in some parts of West Africa. A little bit of sugar or salt is added to give it a unique taste. It is mostly made by the Northerners here in Ghana. It can be purchased in the markets, local stores, in traffic and other various places. Millets have strong antioxidants qualities making them important in fighting germs and disease-causing free radicals.

Pito

Pito is a beverage produced with fermented millet or sorghum or sometimes a combination of both. The grains are soaked, dried and then milled and combined with water. The mixture is then boiled and left to ferment. It needs to be strained before serving. Traditionally, pito is served in a calabash, however, this has changed overtime as it can be served in bottles or consumed from plastic cups. Pito helps to ward off pathogens that may cause cough, cold and flu. Additionally, its anti-inflammatory property helps ease the pain brought about by sore throat and headache.

Iced Kenkey

This is a local smoothie loved by many in Ghana.  It is made with Kenkey either Fante or Ga kenkey. However, most Ghanaians prefer making it with the Fante kenkey. This is prepared by mashing or blending the kenkey with water, sugar, peanuts (if preferred) and powdered or evaporated milk. Some people also add ice to it. Kenkey protects one from constipation and hemorrhoids. The high level of fiber in kenkey also aids in digestion and regulates blood sugar. Some of the antioxidants in kenkey help in eye health.

Atadwe Milk Drink

This is a tiger nut pudding made in Ghana.  The tiger nut milk to extracted from the nuts and blended with rice or rice flour. It is a light dessert which can accompany spicy foods. Tiger nut milk is a good substitute for cow milk, improves heart health, boosts the immune system and helps to fight infections.

Ginger Drink

This is a pure spicy ginger drink great for colds and sore throats and it also relieves nausea and upset stomach. Whatever flavourings can be added to it to give it a unique taste.

Lamugin (chilled ginger)

This is popularly known as Hausa beer consumed within the muslim communities. This drink is similar to ginger drink however, the difference is that the lamugin is prepared by blending it with other ingredients such as soaked cloves, lemon and water. It is great for warming up on a cold day or if you’ve just had a bit too much too eat. This drink assists with controlling diabetes.

These drinks are suitable for any event and can be enjoyed any time of the day. If you haven’t tried them yet, consider purchasing or making them at home following the provided guidelines.

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