How to soften bitter leaf
You will need to soften bitter leaf most times before use in soup, ukwa, etc., especially the dehydrated bitter leaf, since it is a very rugged leaf. It also needs to be washed thoroughly to remove the bitterness inherent in it. Some people boil the leaf with akanwu/kaun to soften it.
To use washed or processed bitter leaf to cook soup, I always boil to soften it which also removes some more of the bitterness if it is still significantly present in the bitter leaf. There are some species that are so tough and need extended cooking, so just boil to soften before use.
To soften bitter leaf
Place the pre-washed bitter leaf in a pot, add enough water to cover it very well but leaving enough space above for the ensuing foam, place over medium heat and bring to a boil.
Do not cover the pot while boiling, else it will boil over. If it is still foaming a lot and boiling over despite the pot being open, reduce the heat to control it. Add more water if it is still tough but getting dry.
Boil for 45 minutes, take a bit out and taste for bitterness, if it tastes right, it is done. It will have a dull brownish green colour. Drain in a sieve, rinse in cold water and squeeze out the water.
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