Zambia Rainy Season Foods

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.

Inswa (Winged Termites)

This is another of Zambian delicacies. “Inswa” are winged termites and they belong to the termite family. They come out of their hiding which is usually on or near an anti-hill, at the start of the rain season. They are attracted towards light and people take advantage of this fact.

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.

Ubulongo (Pumpkin Flowers)

Locally, the flower is one of the few edible ones. It can be used to enrich the quality of your dishes, or to add flavour to your soups and sauces. Usually, Ubulongo are served alongside or mixed with a dish of greens, including young and tender pumpkin leaves (Chibwabwa).

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.

Ifinkubala (Larvae Caterpillars)

“Ifinkubala” (Larvae Caterpillars) are harvested every rainy season, during early November. The bush comes alive with the larvae caterpillars. They feed on vegetation and are a favorite food throughout Zambia.

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.

Ubowa (Mushrooms)

During the rainy season, Zambian markets are full of a wide variety of Ubowa (mushrooms) in different colors like tente, pampa, musefwe, kabansa or ichinkolobwa.

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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