Home General How Kenyans are turning to Pineapple’s leaves to make alcohol – Lifestyle – Pulselive.co.ke

How Kenyans are turning to Pineapple’s leaves to make alcohol – Lifestyle – Pulselive.co.ke

by kenya-tribune
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  • It’s a
    fact that Kenyans love drinking and as a result Kenya is a drinking nation.
  • So what
    happens when one wants to drown their sorrows and they can’t afford alcohol?
    They improvised and put their High School Chemistry skills to use.
  • A section
    of Kenyans are now boiling discarded pineapples leaves to make alcohol.

They say ‘necessity
is the mother of invention’
and
it seems Kenyans have whole earthly embraced the saying and taken it to heart.

It’s a
fact that Kenyans love drinking and as a result Kenya is a drinking nation.

According
to beer manufacturer Diageo, Kenya is among five African countries that
consumes large quantities of Guinness and as such features high on the Guinness
world beer consumption rankings.


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A group of men in Western Kenya sharing a traditional alcoholic drink locally known as Busaa. (Face2Face Africa)

 

However,
as much as Kenyans love to down their brown bottles and spirits, not all of
them can afford to buy alcohol especially in these tough economic times.

Since 1st
September when the 16 per cent levy on petroleum product came into effect,
there has been a countrywide uproar, with Kenyan commuters especially feeling
the pitch after the public transport sector decided to unitarily increase fares
by as much as 40 per cent.

President
Uhuru Kenyatta last week rejected the Finance Bill 2018 which among other
things had proposed the total scrapping of the 16% Value Added Tax (V.A.T) on
petroleum products, proposing instead to slashing it by half to 8% which is
still steep.


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President Uhuru Kenyatta raising a toast. (the star)

Parliament
is yet to deliberate on the matter and for now Kenyans are effectively
condemned to a high cost of living.

So what
happens when one wants to drown their sorrows and they can’t afford alcohol?
They improvised and put their High School Chemistry skills to use.

That is
exactly what a section of Kenyans have been doing  in recent days and in
the true definition of entrepreneurship have turned what was until now a
‘useless waste product’ into a key ingredient in the making of a potent alcohol
which is quickly gaining fame.


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A section of Kenyans are now boiling discarded pineapples leaves to make alcohol. (Facebook)

 

A section
of Kenyans are now boiling discarded pineapples leaves to make alcohol.

After
first getting wind of the story on Let’s
Cook Kenyan Meals Facebook page
,
one of the most popular Facebook groups in Kenya with more than one million
members, Business Insider SSA (BISSA) decided to go on a fact finding mission
to get to the bottom of the matter.

It is not
yet clear how the pineapple leaves alcoholic drink was invented and whether it
was by accident or through the work of a genius, but after one member posted
the ‘invention’ on the group, within minutes thousands of comments started
trickling in with some members  confirming its authenticity and potency
while others promised to immediately try out the new drink.

Also read: Meet the deadly and illegal alcoholic brews of Africa


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A Facebook post on Let’s Cook Kenyan Meals Facebook page about the Pineapple alcoholic drink. (Facebook)

 

Since
then one member after another has been posting their experiences about ‘the new
drink in town’ on the page with all being positive.

“It is
true I have actually tasted the drink and I can confirm it has alcoholic
properties, its tastes more like Mnazi (palm wine) or Muratina (local fermented honey beer),” 
Pamellah Odour, an entrepreneur and Let’s Cook Kenyan Meals group
admin and founder tells BISSA.


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Pamellah Odour, an entrepreneur and Let’s Cook Kenyan Meals group admin is all similes with a Chinese trader while she was in China. (Courtesy)

After
discovering the ‘drink’, Pamellah, who recently came back from China, went home and prepared the leaves herself
much to her joy – here is how to prepare the ‘new drink in town’.

“So to
make the drink, the first thing you do is buy pineapples and wash them
thoroughly before you start peeling. After that, you take the peeled leaves and
put them in a Sufuria (cooking pot) and mix them with water and sugar and then
boil the contents. When it is still lukewarm, you add yeast, seal it and then
store it for a minimum of 24 hours,”  
says Pamellah.


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The Pineapple alcoholic drink ready to be served. (Facebook)

Pamellah
adds that there are several ways of enjoying the drink.

“It’s
nice and for those who find it too harsh, you can use it for other fruit juices
to make cocktails.”

Also read: This smart Entrepreneur is leading Kenyans back to their kitchens one meal at a time


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The Pineapple alcoholic drink can be enjoyed as cocktail too. (Courtesy)

Don’t be
too quick to dismiss the ‘invention’ as nothing more than the work of idle
Kenyans. The invention actually holds water and the drink is real as BISSA
found out after speaking to Paul Kimani, a Chemistry graduate from Jomo
Kenyatta University.

“Yes,
pineapple leaves can be turned into alcohol. After all, some alcoholic drinks
are actually made from fermented fruits. Pineapple leaves have sugar that is
what is normally broken down into alcohol, mostly ethanol. I think by boiling
it they want to break it down further into simple sugars so that when they add
yeast, the conversion to alcohol is quicker,”
Kimani tells BISSA.


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The alcoholic drink is made from discarded pineapple leaves. (courtesy)

 

As to how
potent the drink is Kimani, who recently cleared his Masters in Analytical
Chemistry,  says the final solution is more of a wine than a whiskey or
hard spirit.

“The
final solution is indeed alcoholic but not so potent. You will end up making
something more like wine than whiskey because the yeast is made of Zymase and
it’s a living organism so it can’t produce a lot of alcohol content more than I
think 12%. In my estimation, the pineapple leaves can produce alcohol content
of between 4% – 12% depending on how long you let them stay.”


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A positve review post about the drink on Let’s Cook Kenyan Meals Facebook page. (Facebook)

 

Kenyans
have a knack for coming up with inventions to survive whenever life pushes them
to the edge.

Early
this year after the government imposed a charcoal ban effectively pushing up
the cost of living, many Kenyans transformed their simple thermos flasks from
storing tea and beverages into a daily cooking utensil as they moved to save
time, cost and energy.

They
began cooking foodstuff such as Githeri (mixture of maize and beans) to chicken
wings using thermos flasks.


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A user shares his thermos cooking experience on Facebook (Face book)

The
equation goes something like this: boil water + add dried ingredients in
thermos x a few hours = hot and healthy meal.

The new
‘invention is just another testament of their ingenious spirit.


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A pineapple vegetable vendor in Nairobi,Kenya. (Facebook)

 

The
demand for pineapple leaves is now so high that the streets of Nairobi and
estates’ dumpsites are virtually minus the leaves.

A few
vegetable traders with an entrepreneurial mindset are reported to have even
started selling the leaves instead of throwing them away as was the norm
before.  

With life
expected to be even harder as days goes by one thing is for certain, more and
more Kenyans will soon discard their pricey drinks for the cheaper ‘pineapple
leaves alcoholic drink’ and turn their houses into little distilleries.

Expect to
be served with the ‘new drink in town’ should you pay Kenya a visit any time
soon.



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