Walk and chew at the same time.
February 11, 2017 11:35 AM   Subscribe

How do you chew a kola nut? I'm a bit of a food adventurer and I was in an African grocery this morning and at the counter the had a jar full of these. I asked the guy what they were and he told me they're kola nuts and you chew them. So I bought a bag full and headed out to the car and looked up how to chew them and found this, but it doesn't make any sense.

These are huge. How do you get two to four cloves in your mouth, let alone whole seeds? I can barely tolerate part of one clove. What am I doing wrong? Also, I knew it would be alkaline, but Jesus Christ. Are certain colors less bitter than others? And finally, it seems you shouldn't swallow the chaw, but instead spit it our after the flavors gone. But they seem to keep disintegrating and while I'm not consciously swallowing it, there wasn't anything left to remove except some grit.

So what am I doing wrong, and what tips and tricks can you offer to a novice kola nut chewer?
posted by Stanczyk to Food & Drink (3 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'm from Cameroon. I personally don't like kola nuts (or bitter kola) because they're too bitter for my taste, but lots of people do in this part of the world. In fact, bitter kola is widely recognised as... how do I put it delicately, a natural manhood enhancer. Along with Guinness (the Stout of course).

Anyway, back to your question. You should cut smaller bits than the cloves and chew them until there's no flavour left, then spit them out. It'll take some practice to do so without swallowing the chaw. Kola nuts are usually handed out during traditional ceremonies and the elder (always a man) typically breaks a nut with his hand and hands the cloves around. You're not expected to put an entire clove in your mouth at once, let alone a whole nut. Start small.
posted by Kwadeng at 12:24 PM on February 11, 2017 [11 favorites]

Yeah, cola nuts are a mild stimulant. Think of it as having a cigarette rather than having a snack.

You split the whole nut into cloves then break off pieces of clove and nibble them. People don't spit out the chewed bit where I'm from. For people that like them they are slightly meaty, slightly crunchy (when fresh), very bitter, and leave a pleasant taste in your mouth afterwards. Because of the bitterness. Like bitterleaf stew. You can eat a whole clove at a time bit by bit, nibbling. A quarter of a clove is more likely. Then you will feel as though you've had a cup of coffee.

(I like them.)
posted by glasseyes at 5:18 AM on February 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

When I say clove, I mean what you get when you split one of these into its quarters.

And just like coffee, or red bull, or whatever, don't take too much at once. You probably wouldn't be able to any way.

eta: I'm certainly not endorsing the claims on that cobbled-together web page, which does however contain some useful and true information.
posted by glasseyes at 5:24 AM on February 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

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