Traditional process to make banana beer
Deep in a Masheruka banana plantation we were treated to a special experience. We learned the traditional process to make banana beer as we listened to wonderful music. (This post is part of a series on cultural tourism.)
This post is part of a series on community tourism in Uganda. Community Based Tourism Initiative (COBATI) is an NGO that promotes community development, environmental conservation, and sustainable tourism in Uganda.
Bananas are big in Uganda. The country is the second largest grower in the world and the average Ugandan eats 660 pounds each year. There are different varieties of bananas – the black stalk plant is used to make beer. During a road trip through southern Uganda, we visited Masheruka in the Sheema district where we had an unexpected surprise – a lesson in the traditional process to make banana beer.
Olive Kasande has been a beer maker for 30 years. She grew up in a different village and then moved to Masheruka when she got married. Olive’s parents were beer makers and she revived the skill so she could earn money for her family. She typically brews twice a month and sells to individuals and bars who bring their own containers (jerrycans). Each batch (made in a canoe) produces five jerrycans, which sell for $5 each. The income has enabled Olive to pay her children’s school fees and plantation workers.
Process to Make Banana Beer
The community participates in the banana beer making process. Women prepare the bananas and sorghum; men press the juice. Everyone enjoys drinking it!
Dig a deep hole in the ground, line with banana leaves, fill with bananas, cover with banana leaves and let it sit for two days.
Peel bananas and place in a canoe, cover with grass.
Get in the canoe and smash the bananas by foot, similar to the process of pressing grapes (first, the ladies wash the man’s feet).
Grind roasted sorghum on a stone.
Add sorghum to the canoe and use a pole to churn the mixture.
Put the canoe in the ground, cover with banana leaves, and let sit overnight to ferment.
Mix with water and pour into jerrycans. Enjoy!