How to dry or dehydrate bitter leaf (Onugbu)
For long storage, especially for those who can’t readily access bitter leaf, or for variety in Ogbono soup, dry bitter leaf is a necessity. I always buy the pre-washed bitter leaf from the market, which I then dry. Before I dry or dehydrate bitter leaf, I normally soften it, this makes re-hydration easier, and it won’t need extensive soaking or the use of akanwu/kaun before use. Bitter leaf ca also be dried using the microwave oven.
How to dry or dehydrate bitter leaf
Place a clean mat, or old rice bags in a very airy place. After washing and boiling, squeeze out as much water as you can.
Spread thinly on the mat, breaking up clumps as you spread.
Once or twice a day, mix it up and spread out again so every part gets exposed to air in order to dry uniformly, making sure to break up clumps of leaves stuck together.
If it is not well aerated, mould will develop, if you notice a tiny bit of mould, remove and discard the clump and surrounding leaves but if it occurs quite extensively, throw out the entire batch. It means too much water was left on it when spreading or it was not well aerated. If humidity and space is a problem, dry out in the sun or use a fan to help air circulation.
When the bitter leaf is totally dry, store at room temperature.
To wash fresh bitter leaf for cooking here.
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