red-orange liquid, used as a sauce base for many Gambian dishes.
It comes from the African Oil Palm (Arecaceae ) Elaeis Guineensis,
through a process of squeezing oil from the pinecone-shaped
fruits that grow at the very top of the tree.
The leaves of the palm tree are pinnate i.e. resemble a feather
and can grow to between 3 to 5 metres long and can grow to
a height of between 8.5 to 20 metres. From the moment of pollination
it can take around 5.5 months for the the palm's fruit to
ripen and mature.
There are 2 types of oil that are derived from this
palm: Palm Kernel Oil and Palm Oil. The
oil is pressed out from the mesocarp of the mature
fruit which contains about 50% oil. At a temperature
of above 25° the oil starts to melt.
The red-orange oil is
used in cooking the local Gambian dish called Superkanja, which is
Palm oil is used in the manufacturing of candles
and soap as well as cooking fats and margarine.
It is used widely in tin plate industry, protecting
cleaned iron surfaces before the tin is added. It
is also used as lubricant, in rubber manufacture
The kernel oil, (which is colourless to
light yellow and high in saturated fats) is derived from the
kernel by extraction from the endosperm which contains about 50%
oil. Pressed cake is used as livestock feed and Palm wine is
made from the tree sap.