Zambia rainy season foods come in a wide variety of foods like Ifishimu (caterpillars), Inswa (winged termites), ubowa (mushrooms), Impwa, ifipushi, imyungu and a lot of greens.
During the wet season, Zambian markets are awash with a wide variety of these seasonal foods.Although some of these foods are also available on other times of the year, they are most in abundance during the rainy season.
After the people have harvested (collected) enough “Inswa”; they take some straight to the pot while others are salted and dried for preservation. Alternatively, they are spread out to dry in the sun.
In a dried state, they remain preserved for a long time. This is necessary to avoid wastage because “Inswa” have got a very short shelf-life and can easily go to waste.
They also make a good thick stew when cooked with delele (Okra) and they make an appetizing side dish on their own. They can be picked in the morning (When they are fully opened) or any time of the day if they are in bud form. Ubulongo are better stewed on low heat.
In local language, the caterpillars are commonly known as “Ifishimu” or “Ifinkubala” .They are an important source of protein for the rural folks whose diet is somewhat constrained. Studies have shown that “Ifinkubala” compares effectively with meat or fish, supplying approximately three quarters of an adults daily requirements of proteins, vitamins and minerals.“Ifinkubala” (Larvae Caterpillars) are harvested twice yearly. Every rainy season, during early November, the land or bush comes alive with these worms.
Rural communities take part in harvesting/collecting “Ifinkubala” by hand. And after they have collected enough, the worms are gutted, boiled and laid out to dry. Once processed and dried, they are eaten as snacks or they are stored and kept for future use.
“Ifinkubala” represent an important source of high protein and are a supplementary source of income for many Zambian families.
Ichinkolobwa is the seasonal opener in most parts of Zambia and is one of the most popular of Zambia’s edible mushrooms.
Although mushrooms are still available in dried form off season, the quantity and the choice is very diverse during the rainy season.
If you are a novice at collecting (harvesting) mushrooms, the best way to learn which mushroom is poisonous and which is not, accompany someone who is experienced and knows the area well.
Mushrooms have a tendency of sprouting up in the same area year after year.Hey, come and enjoy Zambia’s Rainy Season Foods!
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