Harvesting Palm Oil in West Africa!! Eating Roasted Worms & Drinking Palm Gin | Ghana

With my time in the coastal fishing town of Elmina at an end, I hit the road again to continue my epic road trip through Ghana! Come with me as I learn how to harvest palm oil, eat roasted worms, and drink palm gin on my way to Kumasi, Ghana!

My guide Isaac and driver Ben from Jolinaiko Eco Tours and I started our day at the beautiful Golden Hill Parker Hotel in Elmina. This city is beautiful, and the hotel looks out over the salt flats, the town, the castle, and the Gulf of Guinea.

Our next destination, Kumasi, is the second-largest city in Ghana. Usually, it’s only a four-hour drive from Elmina, but because we’d be making several stops along the way, it would take us roughly double that!

We headed off through town, past the coast, and continued onto the Cape Coast-Kumasi Road. To our left and right was lots of dense bush. There are also villages and farming communities along the way.

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I couldn’t wait to try some palm wine. It’s pretty rare and you have to know where to look for it. Along the road is a path cut into the bush. It’s super easy to miss, but it leads past old toppled palm trees, which they tap to get the sap.

At a hut, I met the locals, who let me see the sap they had tapped that morning. They let it ferment for 3-4 days and then boil it in a metal drum, put it through a cooling system involving tanks of water, and then you get gin, or akpeteshie. It tasted like the toddy I had in Kerala!

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They gave us some bottles of gin to take with us, and then I went to see them cutting into a toppled palm tree. The area was like a palm tree graveyard! They “undress” the palm tree, cut a deep hole in it, re-dresses it, and later they get a container to capture the sap that drips out.

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They cut through 100 palm trees a day! The sap inside smelled good! The palm trees have six or seven byproducts that come from them, including the leaves, branches, sap, and even the mealworms inside, which are roasted and eaten as a source of protein!

They pierce the grubs on a skewer and roast them over a fire. The worms tasted like barbecue but were very small. They can roast them with onion, tomato, and chilies! Then, I had some of the palm wine and tasted some of the sap directly from the tree. It was sweet!

Then, we hit the road again. It was no longer fully paved and had some potholes in it. After a while, we stopped at a roadside vendor selling roasted plantains and peanuts. We got four plantains for 5 cedi.

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We passed through Assin Prasu, the largest town between Cape Coast and Kumasi. It’s a huge town. Along the road are nonstop vendors selling clothes and produce. As we drove, I tried a roasted plantain, which was still hot but soft and smoky. Then, we stopped to get some coconuts from some guys by the side of the road!

The coconut water was super refreshing, and the meat inside was so fresh and tasty. It cost us $1.20 for three, and the guys were so friendly!

Check out my VIDEO: Incredible African Street Food!! Eating Fufu + UNESCO Slave Castle Tour | Cape Coast, Ghana

Then, we entered the Ashanti region, which is one of 16 regions in the country. We got some doughnuts from vendors and saw a mosque across from a spot where they produce palm oil about 30 minutes outside Kumasi.

The red palm oil comes from the roasted and ground nuts. The nuts are separated from the dirt, cracked, and then soaked in water. The shells sink to the bottom and the nuts float. The nuts are ground into a thick, tar-like paste, which is boiled. During the boiling process, the oil rises to the surface.

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Seeing how they harvest palm oil and make palm gin in Ghana was an experience I will never forget! Big thanks to my guides at Jolinaiko Eco Tours for taking me to see these amazing processes! I highly recommend booking with them when you visit Ghana.

I hope you liked coming with me to see the harvesting palm oil and making palm gin in Ghana processes! If you did, please give this video a thumbs up and leave a comment below. Also, please subscribe to my YouTube channel and click the notification bell so you don’t miss any of my travel/food adventures around the world!  

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