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Prepare kava

Prepare kava juice the Vanuatu way

I am going to walk you through the basic process for preparing kava juice. It is quite simple and easy to prepare it. The things you will need in order for you to proceed are kava cuttings or normally the roots. You will be able to get them around the market house. The cuttings for kava are being sold in kilo gram therefore a kilo of the cuttings is being sold around 150 VT/ 1.59084 US$ per kilo. Check to see that the kava is fresh before you purchase it.

Here are some images of the kava cuttings

You will also need fresh clean drinking water to your wash your cuttings and also to mix with your mashed/grinded kava roots remember that the roots or cuttings will be grinded to be soft and easy for you to squeeze to abstract the kava juice.

After you buy the fresh kava cuttings/roots wash them thoroughly with clean water this is to take away the soil and dirt attached on the cuttings/roots then proceed by pealing of the thin layer of the kava skin. Normally there will be some parts of the cuttings which have little rots and dead skins, peal of the rots and dead skins because failing to do so sometimes causes the taste of the juice to be quite unpleasant. One thing to remember is not to over peal the cuttings as this takes away the useful parts where juices are stored at. However if the roots are too thin to peal it is proper to leave it as it is but wash the skin well.

In Vanuatu villages the root are being minced / grinded by stone or another method is kava cuttings are being placed inside a wooden bowl and a heavy wood will pound the cuttings inside the bowl until it is soft. In the urban centres of Vanuatu there are mincing machines where you can get your kava cuttings to and they will be minced making it quite easier especially for those have large kilos of cuttings eg 10 kilos of kava cuttings, normally this is the kava bars (nakamals) they each normally produce an average of 10 – 15 kilos of kava cuttings every day for consumption.

After the kava is being minced you can start the mixing process of minced kava and water. The ratio for you to mix should be 1 cup kava 3 cups water; this is the safe ratio because the Vanuatu kava is quite strong especially when this is your first time. Mix your kava according to the ratio above but this can vary for different people.

Mixing part
To mix the kava with water you will have to pour some water onto a dish /bowl. Get a strainer something like a cloth to filter the kava mix. Fill the strainer or cloth with the kava mix then dip the whole strainer with the kava into the water. While the strainer/cloth filled with minced kava is in the bowl filled with water squeeze it to extract the kava juice. You will have to repeat the dipping and squeezing until you finish the whole grinded / minced kava mix.

The final process is to filtering part. You will get a new clean filter usually a clean cloth, some people use to do the job. In Vanuatu normally people go to a retail store where clothes are sold and they purchase new petticoats to do this task, why petticoats because of its nylon like material it filters better than cloth. Place the petticoat over a clean dish then gently pour the kava juice which is mixed with water onto the dish which will be passed through the petticoat. The kava juice is now ready to be served and in most Pacific islands it is a tradition to serve kava on the clean coconut shells.

There you go cheers and happy kava !
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