Fruit of the month: Sweet Detar or Ditakh

Ditakh (Detarium Senegalese), also ditax or tallow, is a tree from the subfamily detarioideae. The tree has many values in Africa. It has nutritious fruits, used as medicine, and has quality timber. It contributes to food security, land care and local development. The tee is a native to The Gambia and the surrounding West African countries.
Detarium Senegalese is a medium-sized tree that sometimes grows up to 40 m tall. The fruit is a globular, dark green drupe with fibrous pulp and a single seed. It has a sweet and sour taste, just like tamarind.

The season of ditakh begins in early July and continues till October before it slowly dwindles in the market. The tree grows in the Gambian forests and is harvested by locals to sell at the various markets. In The Gambia, it is also a highly imported fruit from neighbouring country Senegal. The fruit is sold at the main markets and can be found on the streets or in front of compounds. You can buy a big pot for about D50 or one for D5 to D10.

The pulp of the fruit is the edible part. By removing a hardened brown shell, you can access the delicious green flesh, which you can eat by melting it with your tongue and sucking it. Some of the Gambians prepare a special juice using this fruit. By removing the hard shell and soaking the green part in water, you will get a refreshing and natural drink in no time. In some countries, the seed is pounded into flour which is used to thicken different soups.
The locals use the ditakh tree for treatment purposes as well. In The Gambia and many other West African countries, the bark of the tree is used for the expulsion of the placenta after birth. It is also used to treat amnesia, which can be done by boiling the bark and drinking it like tea. Locals use the leaf and roots for treating wounds, pneumonia, stomachache, digestive problems and more.

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