This section is from the book "The Planting, Cultivation And Expression Of Coconuts, Kernels, Cacao And Edible Vegetable Oils And Seeds Of Commerce", by H. Osman Newland. Also available from Amazon: The Planting, Cultivation And Expression Of Coconuts, Kernels, Cacao And Edible Vegetable Oils And Seeds Of Commerce.
The N'kula Nut.-Another nut, less known, but which the author found in abundance in the Liberian forests, and which is not only of pleasant taste but remarkably oily, is known scientifically as Coula edulis. This has nothing whatever to do with the stimulating kola nut. The scientific name (rather a foolish one) is a corruption of the native term Nkula, given to this tree in the Gaboon. The nut would, I believe, be a valuable addition to our sources of vegetable oils and materials for food products.
The Kamoot Nut.-Very similar is that of the Kamoot or Butter and Tallow tree, which the author experimented with in Sierra Leone. The fruit of this tree closely resembles the kola acuminate, and is often placed among genuine kola nuts as an adulterant; but it does not contain theine like the kola, and it yields fat and tannin, neither of which are to be obtained from the genuine kola. The fat is edible, and can be profitably used in candle-making, margarine, and soap manufacture. As much as 41 per cent, of oil has been obtained from the seeds, and £10 a ton in pre-war times has been obtained for the commodity.
The Sierra Leoneans and the Mendis do not use the tree, but the Temnes, from whom the name Kamoot is borrowed, express the oil for food purposes in the same way as palm oil. They dry the seeds, parching them over a fire, then pound them in a mortar, add water, and boil, skimming off the fat or oil as it rises to the surface. The tree is propagated by means of seeds, and is usually found near streams, being plentiful in the Savannah districts of Sierra Leone, and particularly in the neighbourhood of the old Christineville Rubber Estates between Rokelle and Waterloo, where it is called by the Mendis " Jorrah " or " Black Mango." It is also plentiful on the Niger River and Congo district, where the natives call it " Ngoumi," and a trade is done in it with Europe from French West Africa, where it is called by the name of " Lamy."
Dika Nuts.- Another oil-bearing product is the Wild Mango, the fruit of which is like but very inferior to the ordinary Mango.
* See also " Sierra Leone : Its People, Products, and Secret Societies."
The natives eat it, but they attach greater importance to the kernel, from which they make the so-called "Dika" bread, which consists of the bruised kernels warmed and pressed into a cake. It is used largely, when scraped or grated, in stews, and forms a staple article of food amongst the natives.
Decorticated Seeds.- Sun-dried kernels contain 54.3 per cent, of solid fat, having a specific gravity of 0.914 at 40° C.
The fat is considered suitable for soap and candle-making, for which purposes its value is regarded as equal to that of palm-kernel oil- £27 5s. per ton- and if it could be obtained perfectly fresh and pure, it might also equal some of the present substitutes for butter and lard. The commercial valuation of the fat from sun-dried kernels has been given at from £25 to £27 per ton, and that of the kernels probably £10 to £12 per ton. Messrs. Miller Bros' machine for cracking palm nuts has been tried with success at the Imperial Institute with Dika nuts. It is not considered advisable to ship the nuts whole.