The Six Steps of Processing Garri in Nigeria Explained

Garri is a common food in Nigeria derived from raw cassava roots. Garri can be eaten in many ways; either alone or with other meals such as coconut, fish, beans, groundnut, palm kernel, and peanut. It can also be cooked and made into pasta, or a kind of fufu popularly known as eba. This can as well be combined with various kinds of soups, such as vegetable soup, egusi, okra, ogbono, etc.

Sometimes, garri can be formed into a cake, known as garri cake. This is usually done for fun. Many individuals also enjoy garri as a cereal, taken with sugar, milk and groundnuts.

There are different types of garri produced in Nigeria, and this is largely dependent on the state/region. For instance, the popular Ijebu garri is usually produced in Ijebu, Ogun State. Other types of garri include yellow garri, Egba garri, Eko garri, among others.

Nigeria is currently ranked as the world’s biggest producer of cassava. The production of garri differs from country to country.

The six steps of processing Garri in Nigeria are explained below:

Step 1: Harvesting

 After harvesting the cassava tubers from the farm, you peel off the bark carefully with a knife. After that, you wash the dirt off the peeled tubers and select carefully to ensure there are no bad/spoilt tubers there. One bad tuber can affect the outcome of the garri. This is the only stage where water is needed, therefore, a generous amount of water should be used to wash the cassava tubers to avoid dirt which can lead to a reduction in the quality of garri produced.

Image CR – Annie Spratt (Free Stock Images)

Step 2: Grinding

After washing, the tubers/roots should be taken to machinery (the number of tubers will determine the type of machinery to be used) for grinding. The grinding machine will reduce the tubers into a mash. It is advisable to cut the tubers into smaller pieces to facilitate the grinding. While grinding, ensure that you do not insert your hands into the grinding machine, as this can lead to a fatal injury.

Image CR – Annie Spratt (Free Stock Images)

Step 3: Fermenting

Cassava tubers naturally contain hydrocyanic acid which can result in a bland or sour product if not properly fermented. To ferment the cassava, you need to put the mash into a thick clean sack and seal properly. You can put into more than one sack, depending on the amount of mash. Allow it to ferment for one or more days, depending on your preference. However, the ideal number of days to ferment is between 3 and 5 days.

Step 4: Sifting

This is done after draining the water in the sack. The cassava mash will turn into a cake-like form which would be sieved into equal grains. You can break the wet cassava cake with your bare, but neat hands. Then, use a sifter to remove the lumps from the rest of the grains. The lumps are usually referred to as shaff.

Step 5: Frying

 Spread out the cassava grains into a dry frying pan and stir-fry till it becomes dry and edible. This stage is really important as the way you fry it will largely determine the outcome of the garri. While frying, you can scoop a little quantity out of the pan and feel it with your hands. Continue to do this intermittently till it becomes very dry and crisp.

Image: Two African women frying garri

Step 6: Spreading

 This is the last step in the processing of garri. Spread out the fried cassava flakes and allow the heat from frying to cool down. Also, ensure that you spread on high ground to prevent sand and dust from entering the garri. Then, you sieve it again to confirm there are no uneven granules. After this, you pack the processed garri in airtight bags and store in a cool dry place.  

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