Ark of taste
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Amasi, or Magege in Tsonga language, is the Zulu name for a fermented milk in a calabash (Lagenaria siceraria), an ancient way to preserve the milk. Historically, it is a traditional way to preserve food of the Tsonga people living in Limpopo area, and particularly in Malamulele area.

The milk is from Nguni Cattle (already on the Ark of Taste) and rarely from the goat; sour milk is the product obtained by spontaneous acidfication of raw or more rarely boiled milk. It is produced during offspring season The coagulum is white and it has a sour taste. Its texture is usually homogeneous. Magege is semi-fluid to thick.

The daily residual fresh milk from domestic consumption is poured into a container covered with a lid. No starters are used and acidification develops after a few days, either from natural flora of milk when it is not boiled, or from the bacteria growing on the sides of the vessel. Milk is left to settle in a quiet place, often in a covered container sheltered from dust for usually two days. Coagulation time varies a lot depending on room temperature which for instance varies from 22°C to 35°C.

Usually, when amasi is ready for consumption it is served with pap or can be eaten as it is, and it doesn’t usually stores for long period, though these days there are refrigerators and it can be stored for longer period in the refrigerator. It can be consumed with maize meal porridge.

Amasi is a traditional product made to valorize milk surplus from small-scale herds using raw milk, for extension of milk life which started during ancient time since there were no cold storage at the time and Tsonga people depended on their livestock and crop farming for their livelihood
It is rarely produced these days and it is produced at a very small scale to those who still produce it. There is not a real market, it is sold directly from families that produce it, but it is made for self-consumption in the first place.

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StateSouth Africa


Other info


Milk and milk products

Indigenous community:Zulu and Tsonga people
Nominated by:Themba Chauke