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Made in The Gambia: Organic Peanut Butter

My Magazine 2022/08
9 min
Peanut butter is a versatile, beloved food found in many worldwide kitchens. The peanut industry in The Gambia is a vibrant one, and peanuts are among the most widely produced crops in The Gambia. That being so, peanuts are commonly used in the Gambian cuisine, not just as an ingredient for desserts but also as an ingredient for main dishes, such as domoda. You can buy peanuts at almost every market or by the street vendor.

Ever wondered how peanut butter is made?

As long as you have a passion for exploring The Gambia differently, you can have many unique and memorable experiences. 

Peanut butter can be bought at the markets already produced, but the best way is to buy your raw peanuts and witness the whole process yourself.

Want to be part of the peanut butter process?

We visited Alagie Njie’s manufacture to follow the whole process of making the peanut butter. First, we decided what amount of peanuts we wanted to process. You can bring your peanuts and pay to process them or buy them directly from their shop. These raw peanuts must first be roasted to obtain that well-known taste, making peanut butter melt in our mouths. The roasting is being done in the metal barrels rotated above the fire using an electrical motor. Roasting lasts for about half an hour. After that, peanuts are taken from the barrel using a large panel and spread on the floor to enable cooling. Peanuts are now ready for the next step of the process.

Peanuts are put in a particular machine to remove the skin, which can sometimes be bitter and make butter look darker.

From there, peeled skin is removed by pouring peanuts from one bowl to another from a height, while the fan will blow away the remains of the husks and skin. This step has to be repeated a few times before all the skin is blown away.

Our advice is to check peeled peanuts manually and to remove the remains of the husks, dry peanuts, and other possible residues that don't belong in the peanut paste. This is the most crucial step in differentiating good peanut paste from a regular one. Only a few sellers are ensuring peanuts are properly cleaned before being ground. 

As mentioned above, this is the last part of the process. Cleaned peanuts are poured into a grinding machine, which creates delicious light and fresh paste in a few minutes. Your bucket of deggeh, a local word for peanut butter, is now ready to use for making delicious meals.

Do you want to enrich your trip with such an experience? Yes? 

Contact us at info@my-gambia.com, and we will organize it for you! 

You can also do it on your own and get in touch with Mr Alagie Njie that welcomed us to his manufacture.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Founder, Just Act Gambia
Jane first travelled to Janjanbureh, The Gambia, in February 2004 for just one week through an educational link. That was enough to capture her heart, and she decided to try and support the community in some small way. On subsequent visits, staying with Tida Manka, the then retired Head Teacher of the Methodist Lower Basic School, she met her brother, the late Foday Jibani Manka (later to become the National Assembly Member). Foday had immense historical and cultural knowledge of the island, and Jane felt this knowledge should be shared. Seeing some tourists coming to the island with guides from the coast, not always with accurate knowledge to convey, Jane suggested that some local young people should be trained to become local tour guides and that a local skills centre which she had supported from the onset should be used to provide training in providing goods and services for tourists. Thus began her main aim of training Official Local Tour Guides recognised by the Gambia Tourism Board. She decided that setting up a charitable status would be advisable. It was to be a long task and finally achieved but since 2017 has been superseded by a much greater initiative through YEP Gambia, which is chronicled elsewhere on this site. Just Act Gambia became a recognised charity in early 2010. Just Act Gambia has developed through collaboration with the local community and various initiatives in response to local needs.

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