a tray of white ants Uganda's insect delicacy

ENSWA (WHITE ANTS) UGANDA’S INSCET DELICACY

These Insects are locally known as Enswa (and scientifically as Macrotermes bellicosus). They are commonly referred to as White Ants in Uganda. Let us have a closer look at enswa (white ants) Uganda’s insect delicacy in detail.

 The white ant is actually a winged termite. They have a nutrient composition of proteins and fatty acids or fats. The fatty acids provided by white ants are largely unsaturated; they contain 56.7 per cent unsaturated fatty acids and also have vitamins A and C.


Enswa are commonly pan fried using their natural body fat. Add a bit of salt to enhance their flavor.  They may also be eaten raw or when mixed with other sauces like groundnut stew.

ARE WHITE ANTS CONSIDERED AS HEALTHY FOOD?

Yes, white ants have high nutritional qualities; this is according to the paper, Evaluation of the Nutritional Value of Termites carried out in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria, published in a 2012 issue of the International Journal of Food and Nutrition Safety.

In another research her paper carried out at Makerere University by Makerere University’ by Muniirah Mbabazi, the nutrient composition of white ants, is published as being proteins and fatty acids or fats.

HOW TO PREPARE ENSWA (WHITE ANTS) UGANDA’S INSECT DELICACY

Preparation methods commonly used cook and preserve white aunts include boiling, dry pan-frying and sun drying. However it is advisable to use all these methods in moderation so as not to adversely affect the nutritional composition of the white ants as we shall see below;

Over boiling white ants, provides less energy, while Dry pan-fried ones also provide less energy compared to eating them raw.

It is, therefore, best to eat the white ants raw, so as to attain maximum nutritional benefits from them.

HOW TO HARVEST ENSWA (WHITE ANTS)

White ants are usually harvested using light when they swarm. They normally gather around the light and are trapped locally using white bedsheets.  When white ants lose their wings, they can be collected using plastic cups or any other container by women and children.

Another method of collecting white is by digging deep and using nests to trap the white ants. Traps are laid and different methods are used to attract the insect out of the anthill.  Usually, water is used to make the insects think it is raining, in addition, drum beats are made to sound like raindrops.

DIFFERENT TYPES OF WHITE ANTS (ENSWA) IN UGANDA

Winged termites (white ants) exist in different sizes, types, and flavors, and appear during different seasons.  The following are the various types of white ants in Uganda.

Ntunda

Ntunda are small black flying ants with delicate wings that normally emerge from knee-height anthills in the evening, especially during the rainy season. They are eaten fresh without cooking or roasting; only salt is added after picking.

Embobya

Embobya have a stronger flavor and come out of the ground from small anthills after the rains stop.

Ennaka

 Ennaka are very small black-winged termites predominantly found in Bulemeezi County in central Uganda, and because of their flavor and rarity, they are one of the most popular among all the edible flying termites.

To trap more ennaka , a person could get three sticks, sit around the holes where the termites were coming from, and make music for the termites to lure more of them out.

Nsejjere

Nsejjere also known as kamaresi are the biggest and fastest amongst the white ants varaites in Uganda and they make relatively large, flat-topped anthills with wide holes on the sides that can reach up to 15cm in diameter.

They are reddish brown and back on top, with relatively large, hard wings and a fatty abdomen are highly seasonal, appearing during the wet seasons in central and eastern Uganda when they are harvested, cleaned roasted, dried, and stored for use in vegetable and groundnuts soups and stews.

Mpawu

Mpawu (in Luganda) or kamashwahi (in Gishu), is the second commonest after nsejjere and they normally construct large and sharp-pointed anthills with multiple peaks. They are also very seasonal with their main season in April. They are normally trapped and harvested in the early morning hours and tend to come out when there is a dry night following a series of rainy days.

HOW TO BOIL WHITE ANTS

Add the white ants to Salted water, and bring the water to boil for about 10-15 minutes. Sun-dry the boiled white ants, then remove the wings once dry.  The insects are now ready for eating as a snack.

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