Celebrating The Joy Of 'Eruru' Or The Palm Tree Weevil's Larva
By Iwedi Ojinmah 1 month ago
Here at the Awareness kitchen, we have highlighted so many different kinds of foods focusing mainly on those eaten by the Igbo and today we bring you another one. It is arguably one of the strangest but remains a tasty favourite especially among the children.
It is the larva of the Palm Tree Weevil called Eruru.
It is eaten mostly by people from Southern Nigeria. Often referred to as Bayelsa Suya or edible worm, this delicacy is often sold on the streets like every other snack. It contains proteins, Omega 3 fatty acids which are good for the heart, as well as Vitamins A and C
In an amazing study by C.N. Thomas and & Briyai F. O. of the Department of Biological Sciences, at the Niger Delta University in Bayelsa State, Nigeria a survey was conducted to ascertain the uses of the Rhynchophorus phoenicisas in different parts of the Niger Delta Area. It was published in the Journal of Biology and Genetic Research Vol. 5 No. 1 2019 ISSN: 2545 -5710 and is a fascinating read,
The study confirmed that the larvae of this insect are highly accepted as food widely eaten by the indigenes of the different ethnic groups in the area under different names and are eaten eastward as far as Angola.
The three stages of the insect, as a larva, as an intermediate and as a full weevil
This is what they are called by each tribe, in the aforementioned area in Nigeria.
1. Bini Ohuhu or Ikolo
2. Ibibio Nten
4.Ijaw Doun or Kolo
6. Ogoni Tam
7. Itsekiri Ikolo
The five methods of preparation are frying, drying, cooking, roasting and raw form, but the roasted or grilled product was more preferred. It is eaten on its own as a delicacy or in combination with other food items like garri, farina, tapioca, rice, or yam. In some parts of Igbo land like Ohaji, Egbema it is sometimes presented to visitors in place of kola nuts.
There was very high acceptability (92–100%) of the fried product of this insect in all the states of the Niger Delta in Nigeria. Harvesting the larvae from the wild and processing it for sale along the major cities and markets is a thriving small scale business.
This protein-packed grub can normally be found among the stumps of felled or fallen palm trees. There it feasts on the decaying sugar-rich pulp, growing fat and multiplying by the score.
It is here that the keen eye of the hunters and gathers normally identify them and snatch them up to be eaten. Some don't make it back home to be properly prepared but are eaten raw on the spot.
However, for those that do make it back to the kitchen, they are individually roasted or fried as pointed out till the swell up to almost twice their size. Others are grilled on a stick like a kebab. Regardless of which mode you prepare as the result is almost always the same, namely a burst of sweetmeat infused with equally delightful juices and fat. The trick is never let them burst because like sausages all liquid would leak out leaving them dry and rubberyRelated: Kenya To Host Inaugural Africa Food Show In 2020 .
The average cost of a mature larva when fried, ranges between N10 –N20 or N50, depending upon the size, while four to five larvae pinned on a stick after been fried would cost N100 - N200 ( again depending on their sizes) and of course availability.
This means that the marketing of prepared larvae of palm weevil is thriving small scale business in most parts of the Niger Delta and on. One only needs to drive through the Benin by-pass to see how true this is.