Project Description

Ziziphus mauritiana / Masau (Sh)

The masau is a tropical fruit tree species. Though not indigenous, it has widely naturalised in southern Africa and is found throughout Zimbabwe.

The fruits are rich in vitamin C and can be made into fruit powder, fruit slices, juice and jam for the local market. They are well-known as the basis for a traditional distilled alcoholic beverage called kachasu.

Where it does well: Masau is a hardy tree that copes with extreme temperatures and thrives under rather dry conditions. It is found throughout Zimbabwe, but only fruits in the lower lying areas. It is especially associated with the lower Zambezi valley, where it is an important supplement to rural incomes and nutritional status.

What is harvested – Harvesting time: The fruits are collected during the dry season from May to August.

Average yield: Trees yield 80 to 100 kg of fresh fruit/year when the trees are in their prime bearing age of 10–20 years.

The fruits are rich in vitamin C and contain useful quantities of calcium, iron and phosphorus.
The fruit is eaten raw, but also as candied fruit, fruit in syrup, fruit leather, jam and juice. It is also used as the basis for a locally-distilled alcoholic beverage, kachasu. Ripe fruits are preserved by sun-drying and a powder is prepared for out-of-season purposes.
The local, informal trade of masau is mostly at urban fruit and vegetable markets. It is formally traded as a jam. The potential on the local market is in the jam, fruit slices, juice, and fruit powder and as a basis for an alcoholic beverage. Current trials in Zimbabwe are focusing on a range of potential beverage applications.