– By Ogunrinola Isaiah
Jute leaf(Ewedu) whose Botanical name is Corchorus olitorius but Popularly regarded as Ewedu in Yoruba Land, Achingbara in Igbo and Rama in Hausa is a popular soup item normally taken with Local Delicacies like Amala, Fufu or Akpu, Garri….etc. It is also grown in Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Nepal, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Brazil and some other countries.
Going down memory lane, It has been grown for food since 6000 B.C. It was said to be eaten by Cleopatra because of its health and beauty benefits, and since then its good name has spread abroad. For centuries, jute has been an essential part of the culture of East Bengal, in the whole southwest of Bangladesh. Since the 17th century the British East India Company started trading in Jute. During the rule of the British Empire Jute was also used in the military. British jute barons grew rich processing jute and selling manufactured products made from jute. In the 21st century, jute again rose to be an important crop for export around the world in contrast to synthetic fiber, mainly from Bangladesh.
- It contains vitamin A, C and E, and these vitamins are key in the protection of the body from diseases.
- It is known to have skin beautifying agents as they tend to increase the production of collagen, thus keeping the skin firm and beautiful.
- It is a good source of fibre, which makes it helpful in dealing with weight management and may also promote intestinal health by helping with bowel movement.
- Ewedu leafs are also known to help boost immunity and nourish the body system.
- They are often used as a remedy for stomach related conditions such as dysentery and constipation.
- They increase the production of collagen in order to keep the skin firm and smooth.
- It is rich in beta-carotene for good sight.
- It has high calcium content for healthy bones and teeth.
- It boosts the immune system and nourishes the body.
- It has anti-aging properties that keeps the skin looking smooth and radiant.
- It lowers blood pressure, cholesterol and is good for heart health and diabetes.
- It can increase sexual Libido and aid fertility.
- It is a blood purifier and laxative.
- It improves eyesight.
- It aids and aids easy delivery in pregnant women.
- It controls infections like gonorrhoea
- It contains sufficient amount of Magnesium required for the body. People who are suffering from chronic asthma may be able to normalize their breathing with the help of magnesium supplements which aid in relaxing the bronchial muscles and regulating breathing
- Vitamin B9 present in Jute is considered to be an essential component for reducing the occurrence of cancer in the human body. It helps eliminate the likelihoods of cancer in various forms, including colon cancer, cervical cancer and lung cancer.
How To Prepare ‘Ewedu’Soup
- 2 Packs Frozen or fresh Jute leaves (Ewedu)
- 3 Tablespoons Ground melon (optional)
- 1 Tablespoon Ground crayfish
- 1 Tablespoon Locust beans (optional)
- Knorr seasoning bouillon powder or cube (your choice)
- Salt to taste
- For Frozen: If you’re using frozen jute leaves (ewedu) thaw and make sure the liquid is intact.
- For fresh Jute leaves: remove the leaves from the stem and rinse under cold water to remove any the dirt from the leaves.
- Boil a cup of water (depending on the quantity of the leaves), add the cleaned leaves and bring to a boil. Blend in a blender (be careful when you’re blending it’s hot or better still leave it to cool down) Complete with the steps below. If you’re using the chopping broom (ijabe) instead of blending use the broom.
- Add to a blender and boil with the liquid included in the pack, blend until you can’t see the chunk of leaves or to your desired texture.
- Pour into a saucepan or pot and bring to a boil (do not cover) on high heat, reduce the heat, then sprinkle the ground melon (egusi) and stir.
- Add the locust beans (if you’re using), seasoning, ground crayfish, salt, ground melon (if you’re using) stir and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- If you’re using fresh jute leaves, add a small quantity of water if it’s too thick start very small so you don’t add too much and lose its viscosity. For the frozen jute leaves the liquid that comes with it is enough for the cooking process.
- Check the seasoning and take off the heat.
- Serve with your favorite pepper stew/soup and Amala or your favorite swallow.