Beauty Chatsure, Bambara Nut Grower
Beauty Muza Chatsure is a farmer from Bromley who grows a wide range of legumes including cowpeas, Bambara nuts and sugar beans. Beauty says legumes do well in her area and give her enough food throughout the year to feed herself and her family of nine. She usually plants half an acre for each legume variety but has been so successful that she intends to expand her fields in future. The surplus beans are sold to people in the local community.
Bambara nuts are a popular food across Africa and Zimbabwe is considered to be a centre of diversity for Bambara nuts. The beans are produced in underground pods similar to groundnuts. The crop tolerates high temperatures and poor, sandy soils and is not severely affected by pests or diseases. It produces high yields even during drought conditions. Bambara nuts can be intercropped with maize, millet, sorghum or cassava. Beauty grows two bambara varieties, one which is cream with a black spot on the bean and the other called misodzi which is cream with a reddish tear drop marking.
Beauty has found all the legumes which she grows to be tasty and she says that her family loves to eat them. She usually serves the beans boiled, sometimes adding tomato and onion for flavour.
Bambara nuts can be eaten fresh or dried. They contain high levels of protein and carbohydrate and have a pleasant nutty flavour. The dried, cooked nuts may be milled into flour for thickening soups and stews or used in baking. They form the basis of the delicious traditional snack, mutakura which is made using Bambara nuts, cowpeas, groundnuts and maize samp.