Changing food consumption habits: A Case of African Indigenous Vegetables for Food and Nutrition Security in Kakamega County, Western Kenya
A number of factors contribute towards the consumption of African Indigenous Vegetables (AIVs) in Kakamega County. The significance of African Indigenous Vegetable (AIVs) in Kakamega County plays a major role in their consumption. However, some factors have been found to be constraints rather than enhancing consumption. This has increasingly led to the changing food consumption habits of AIVs in the rural households of Kakamega County. Whether these changes contribute to the nutritional benefits of consumers is an issue that needs further investigation. A study was done in order to document the preparation and cooking of spider plant (Cleome gynandra) and African nightshade (Solanum scabrum). The purpose was to determine the meal culture and consumption habits of the two AIVs in Kakamega County. Findings of the study indicate that spider plant and nightshade undergo various processes before consumption. Plucking, washing, cutting and cooking are the main steps. They are prepared each as a mixture with African kale and/or amaranthus. They are cooked by steaming or boiling and thereafter, the cook can fry and/or use additives. Both AIVs take more than one hour to prepare and cook, but spider plant takes a longer time than nightshade. There are some differences in the recipes used today to cook the two AIVs. There are a variety of foods served with AIVs. Constraints to consumption of AIVs include scarcity during dry season, time constraints for preparation, lack of skills in preparation and scarcity of fuel. This study reveals that in looking at the importance of AIVs for food and nutrition security, preparation and cooking processes are essential factors to be considered.
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