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Baissa Bitter Leaves: Why it is Most Preferred in Taraba

Bitter leaf is a unique traditional ingredient in African soups. Even though it has a bitter description, its appetizing taste ironically retains a unique appeal to both old and young when it is masterfully prepared.

Special Bitter leaf from Baissa
Special Bitter leaf from Baissa

A mere mention of the bitter leave soup is capable of wetting the appetite of anyone who has ever tasted this unique delicacy. Those who have tasted the particular species of bitter leaf from Baissa know that you can’t completely savor the delicious taste of these leaves if you have never for once tasted the Baissa species.

Those who have tasted the particular species of bitter leaf from Baissa know that you can’t completely savor the delicious taste of these leaves if you have never for once tasted the Baissa species.

This distinct species is native to Baissa, the Local Government Headquarters of Kurmi in Taraba State.

The aboriginal Jukuns in Kurmi calls it  Iwuzung while it is known as ati or tunyang in Kuteb and shuwaka in Hausa.

What makes this species stand out is its reduced bitter taste. Unlike the popular species which has to be squeezed and washed several times to make it tolerable, it only needs to be mildly pressed and washed just once if it is to have that bitter taste at all.

This helps it to retain most of its essential vitamin nutrients which are almost entirely lost in its sister species. Most times it retains its shape and crunchiness unlike the soft and lifeless texture of the other species.

Due to its reduced bitter taste, the Baissa bitter leaves could be cooked with its tender stalk which becomes succulent and releases a mild and distinct flavor when the crunchy and meaty mass is being chewed.

Baissa Bitter leaf
Baissa Bitter leaf

The University of Texas reports that adding a bitter leaf to your healthy diet may reduce your risk of chronic diseases like breast cancer and type 2 diabetes.

Also, the December 2006 issue of “Food Chemistry” reports that bitter leaf is an abundant source of oxidation’s nemesis. The researchers added that the antioxidant properties of bitter leaf make a healthy disease-fighting addition to your diet.

Additionally, consuming bitter leaf may combat breast cancer cell growth, according to the February 2004 “Experimental Biology and Medicine.”

In a test-tube study of human breast cancer cells, scientists from Jackson State University found that bitter leaf inhibited the growth and proliferation of breast cancer cells.

You are welcome to join the group of happy and healthy consumers of Baissa bitter leaves.

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