Cherry: Bee, is mummy with you?
Bee: Yes, she is.
Cherry: She is not taking her calls. Tell her that the lady selling okazi didn’t open today, what should I do?
Bee: (talking to mummy) Mummy Cherry says the okazi woman is not around, what should she do?
Mum: oh God! What other type of soup should we prepare?
Mum: Let’s make bitterleaf soup.
Bee: Huh! Is she going to buy the already washed one from the market?
Mum: Noooo what happened to all the bitterleaf in this compound?
Bee: (panic attack starting) who will wash it?
Cherry: Bee! What did mummy say?
Mummy: Tell her to buy more Achi and ogiri. We will take bitterleaf from here.
My heart sank! Bitterleaf soup! 1 hour of washing leaves, green fingernails to show for it. There had to be another way.
My youngest sister would pound normally pound the bitterleaf before washing. She says it is easier to wash like that. Problem is, I am not a pounder. In fact, by next week, I should be looking for other means of extracting oil from palm fruits than pounding. 😏 You can help a sister and share your ideas if you have any.
Mum would normally wash and cut her bitterleaf, then pour it into her soup stock and stir, cover the pot and leave it to boil for about 15 mins. Then add all her other ingredients and mede-mede (orishirisi) into the stock and bitterleaf mixture and cover again leaving it to boil for another 10/15 mins. Oton! Your bitterleaf soup is ready with almost no bitter taste to it.
The problem with this method is that, it doesn’t give you that bitterleaf soup feel. It is not as ‘stringy and kinda piecesed’ as the the washed one. It almost feels like you are eating pumpkin (ugwu) leaves. And if you do that method with egusi soup (I don’t know how to explain this one now o, just try and follow me) the soup falls, It wouldn’t have that ‘risey’ fluffy look. My dad doesn’t like it so, I’m back to square ‘I have to hand wash the bitterleaf’.
I went online, I was seeing stories like you can use your washing machine to wash your bitterleaf 😂 I heard it works, I haven’t tried it. But that will not fly in this house. So, I read a couple of other articles before I settled on trying something out. Please! I’m not teaching anyone to prepare bitterleaf soup. It is everywhere online. If you want my recipe with the kitchen magic 😉 you’ll have to pay for the info. Plus I can’t even deal with the stress of dishing out measurements, my eyes do the job, I look at the soup and know what quantity of whatever I have to put.🙄
How to wash Bitterleaf with little or no stress
- Pluck bitterleaf and leave to weaken a bit (preferably overnight) so that the leaves do not break at the slightest provocation or tickle.
Wash the bitterleaf.
(Having my fingers there is intentional 😂 just want you to see the before and after of my nails after washing the leaves.)
- Put it in a pot of water and allow to boil for 2/3 minutes.
(I must admit that I froze when I checked the leaves and saw them like this. But what was I expecting? 😓 the beautiful green colour was gone! My prayer was, let this thing be washable.)
- Take it down from the fire and sieve out the water.
When it is cool enough for you to wash it, wash the leaves like you are washing clothes, you can add water while washing.
Sieve out the water and repeat the washing process. If you are vigorous enough, you may need to wash just twice. If not, 3 times.
Your bitterleaf is ready.
(soooooo when I was done washing, I had this! Notice my nails 😁💃The leaves didn’t break and scatter as such because I left it overnight. So I cut it to the size I wanted.)
This method does not give you entirely tasteless leaves but the bitterness is reduced to the barest minimum.
The advantage of using this method is that you save time and energy because you do not have to wash as much as 7 times to get the bitterness out, thus less time is spent in the kitchen.
The disadvantage is, your soup will not have the very green colour.
I think the advantages outweighs the disadvantage 😁 so if I have to do this over again, I wouldn’t change anything!
Thanks for reading. Do share your thoughts and comments 😘