Did You Know the Correct Names for These Local Items in Ghana?

When my European friend and I visited Makola Market (The Biggest Market In Accra). He was bent on buying a fruit called soursop and I had no idea what it was. Just then, He said “That’s it!. I turned and I saw “Aluguntugui”. I asked him if he was sure and he said yes. I decided to look up for soursop on the internet and there it was.

Fruits and Vegetables in Ghana

This was an eye-opener for me and I realized there are a lot of items that we have named that are wrong. We believe that these local names are somehow used worldwide but this is sheer ignorance. For this reason, we have dedicated this blog post to enlighten Ghanaians on the correct and universally accepted names for local products in Ghana. Let’s get started.

  1. Alansa

Alansa is one of the seasonal fruit in Ghana which is loved by many. It’s delicious and sharp taste makes this fruit kind of special. The English name for “Alansa” is African Star Fruit. It contains high vitamin C and this helps protect the body against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease and even ageing of the skin.

African Star Fruit Locally called Alansa in Ghana.

2. Aluguntugui

A lot of us think Aluguntugui is called Sweet Apple but it is Soursop. Even though they belong to the same plant family Annonaceae, they are different fruits. We are not surprised many have been told it’s Sweet Apple due to their resemblance. Now we know, Aluguntugui is called Soursop in English.

Practitioners of herbal medicine use soursop fruit and Graviola tree leaves to treat stomach ailments, fever, parasitic infections, hypertension and rheumatism. It’s also used as a sedative. There have been claims of the fruit’s anti-cancer properties have attracted the most attention.

Soursop Fruit and Juice or Aluguntugui as locally called in Ghana.

3. Kontomire

My teacher said the English name for Kontomire is cocoyam leaves. Really? Well, I guess many will accept this when told too since they don’t know. A lot of recipe books in Ghana have also failed to give the English name for it. Kontomire is Taro Leaves in English. Taro leaves are rich in vitamin C which acts as an antioxidant. This helps prevent many diseases and fight against free radicals that cause cancer. Boosts your immune system.

4. Yooyi

Yooyi is another popular seasonal crop in Ghana. A lot of people always call it Blackberries but this is not the English name. The English name for Yooyi is Velvet Tamarind. Black velvet tamarind is rich in vitamins including thiamin, vitamin A, folic acid, niacin, riboflavin, and the most important is vitamin C. It also acts as an antioxidant to fight free radicals. These vitamins also help in enzyme metabolism in the human body.

Black Velvet Tamarind but locally called Yooyi in Ghana.

5. Beduru

This is one of the healthy vegetables included in some popular Ghanaian recipes. Some of the health benefits include it’s used for the treatment of Anaemia, Indigestion, Diabetes and highly recommended for pregnant women. People normally refer to it as “small Garden eggs” but the English name is Turkey Berries. Turkey Berries are good for digestion and help to treat indigestion, stomachaches, and Diarrhoea. The berries are also capable of neutralizing acid in the stomach making them important for healing gastric ulcers. Regular intake of the berries can prevent the formation of worms in the intestine.

Turkey Berries

6. Bentua

For decades, Ghanaians have had difficulty with the correct name for this highly ubiquitous object used in many homes in Ghana. A lot of people claim it’s a purely Ghanaian product and so it does not come with an English name but this product is actually ancient and it’s still being used by many people all over the world. It is called Enema Bulb Syringe. With this enema bulb syringe, water and other liquids are pumped through the anus to the colon. This procedure is often employed to relieve constipation, administer medication and before medical procedures, e.g., a colonoscopy. Enemas are important part of fasting cures and are also used for bowel cleansing.

Enema Bulb Syringe

7. Asanka

The right name for Asanka, your favourite bowl is Earthenware Bowl. The indigenous people prepared meals using the pots, some boiled herbs in their pots and grounded pepper in other earthen-ware utensils. Generally, earthenware pots and bowls are mainly used for domestic purposes in Ghana. 

Earthenware Bowl

8. Banku Ta

The ‘stick’ that is used to stir banku to give it that fine texture is called Wooden Spatula. There are different types of wooden spatulas used in many ways for different purposes. A wooden spatula is superior to other materials for five primary reasons: They won’t scratch the finish off non stick surfaces or leave scars on delicate copper pans. That’s especially important for dishes that require a lot of stirring, like Banku, konkonte, Porridge, and other hot liquid meals.

We cannot keep deceiving ourselves, there are a lot of things to learn in Ghana. This is just the beginning. There is a long journey ahead.

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