The month of May- September are usually the special months to many of us Nigerians as they come along with plenty of foodies for the nation. It is not as if its a festive period, but rather a cultivating season whereby many farmers both local and mechanical farmers engaged in cultivation of different crops such as maize/corn, tomatoes, carrots, cabbage, cucumber, pepper, spinach, okra, yam, Irish and sweet potatoes and a lot more.
During this season we have a lot to eat and to store for the next rainy season, you might wonder why am taking time to explain this, It is because many city based folks do not have the native blood running through their adrenalin. They are just used to eating city most fried foods and are not knowledgeable in combining the different local foods they see around them such the African bush pear.
I advise you as a food lover from today to search around your environment and discover the so many foods you have and start playing with them.
Corn and pear combo are special food staple which if I dont mention my menu list wont be complete. This food reminds me of my younger years in which we used to wake up as early as 6:00 am to the big pear trees almost 5 minutes trek to the bush to pick some of the fruits that were plucked down by some night birds or squirrels; once we were able to fetch this edible fruits called African pear, we rush down to the local charcoal pot to bury it into the hot dust for about 3 minutes with the intention of eating it with roasted or cooked corn which made life so simple and fund; and now how can one soon forget this wonderful food memories especially the greenish Avocado butter-like colour and the taste of it when it mixes up with the saliva in the mouth. Oh my home sweet home!!
African pear has a botanical name as Dacryodes edulis, popularly known as Eben by Calabar, Ube by Igbos while the Yoruba calls it Eleme. These African pear (ube) fruits has different unique colours and shapes – it appear oblong or sometimes cylindrical showing creamy or reddish colour when unripe, and a black, purple or blue colour when ripe; It is richly packed with a lot of medicinal values such as anti-inflammatory, anti- hypertensive, anti-oxidant, and contains minerals like lipids, proteins and vitamins, minerals, fat and oil and other nutritional value. It can be roasted in charcoal fire, buried in the mouth for few minutes or soak in hot water for 4-5 minutes to enable the pulpy buttery flesh to get soften or it can be eaten raw which ever way.
African bush pear(Ube, Eben, Eleme) is usually harvested seasonally with maize (corn), which means that there wouldnt be corn without African bush pear .Now back to corn- corn is also known as zea-mays (akpa-kpa, ebikpot or masara). It usually comes in different colours as yellow, red, pink, purple including white and are good source of fibre, carbohydrate, anti-oxidant etc.
Although corn is now sold cooked, or roasted by the road side traders, you can still Do It Yourself ( DIY) with or without the wrapped husk by simply following these simple methods.
- 2 -3 serving size of fresh soft corn
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- A wide pot
- 5-10 African pear fruit( ube)
- A medium big pot with cover
Steps on how to prepare this:
- Unwrap the maize/corn from the foils and cut out the husk
- Remove the silk (threads) ,if necessary rinse in water to prevent sand
- Arrange the corn in the pot( if too long break into two)
- Add water just above the corn and cook for 45minutes till well soften: note you can use a fork to check
Note: Maize can be cooked with or without removing the wraps (foils) depending on ones choice
- Just before you bring down the pot of corn, wash the pear fruits with a little salt and drop into the pot while still on fire and cover for not more than 5 minutes
- Quickly bring out the pears from hot water .whereas they will become so soften like over ripe avocado
- Serve with hot pear.
If you prefer the grill/roasted corn you can check this:
- After removing the foils and the silk, set your grill or charcoal pot and light the coal and to burn into red coals
- Bring the maize to roast on grill
- Turn the corn side by side frequently to prevent it from burning.
Note: you are to stand by while doing this also never put African bush pear in air tight container or leather bag or else it will get rotten without waste of time. it is preserved by spreading it on a bare floor.
-It is safe for pregnant women to eat maize without side effects