What is Areca Nut? How to Use Areca Nut

GER: Arecanuz INDIA: Supari IT: Noce di areca BOT: Areca catechu FAM: Palmae (Arecaceae)

ILL: Plate 17, No. 3

The habit of chewing betel is very common in Asia and wherever there are Indian colonists. Betel chewing is as habit-forming as smoking, and one of the chief ingredients of such chewing mixtures is

the areca nut, which is a stimulant.

What is Areca Nut? How to Use Areca Nut Photo Gallery

The areca nut grows on a palm, originally from Malaysia and is recognized by the tall, very slender vertical trunk.

The nuts grow in loose bunches of a hundred or more. Inside a fibrous cover is a kernel the size of a walnut. The bunches are cut either when green (‘tender nuts’) or when orange-yellow or scarlet and ripe. There are thus two quite distinct types of product.

The unripe tender nuts (India: chikni) are taken out of the husks, boiled to remove the tannin and then dried in the sun. The ripe nuts (India: chali) are dried, husk and all, until the kernel becomes loose. After that they are husked.

When whole, the areca nut looks something like a nutmeg; when cracked in two (unless it has been boiled) it is creamy white inside, veined with intricate folds of brown. It is exceedingly hard, and must be chopped into small pieces before use. Areca nut has little flavour and is strongly astringent, but it is a very important article in the East, and travellers or shoppers in Indian shops are certain to come across it.

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