Do you throw away the tea leaves after brewing green tea?
In fact, tea leaves are not only delicious to drink, but can also be eaten afterwards.
Here we introduce a recipe for "Ohitashi (boiled green tea)" that allows you to take in the rich nutrients that remain dissolved in the tea leaves.
Used green tea leaves are edible?
It may be surprising to know that used green tea leaves are edible, but it’s quite common in those famous tea producing areas such as Kyoto and Shizuoka as the local people often eat them.
It doesn’t mean that used green tea leaves have no flavors or aromas left: The flavor of tea would gently fill in your mouth with a little bit of seasoning.
Especially used high-end sencha tea leaves like gyokuro are easy to eat as they have rich umami left with no bitterness.
Benefits of eating ohitashi tea leaf salad
Green tea leaves contain rich nutrients that are said to be good for your health. The nutrients have two types: “water-soluble” that dissolves in water and “fat-soluble” that dissolves in fats and oils , and about 70% of tea nutrients are fat-soluble.
Not all of the water-soluble nutrients, such as catechin, caffeine, theanine, and vitamin C, dissolve out of the hot water as well, leaving more than 70% of green tea's rich nutrients in the tea leaves.
For your information, the fat-soluble nutrients contained in green tea are β-carotene, vitamin E, chlorophyll, fiber and so on. Especially the vitamin E that is said to improve the circulation is contained 25 times more than spinach.
Therefore, the whole rich nutrients left in used green tea leaves would be ingested when you eat them.
Recipe for ohitashi green tea leaf salad
There have been many recipes using used green tea leaves because of the recent people’s interest in health and wellness.
This time, we are going to introduce our simple and easy recipe for ohitashi tea-leaf salad.
- Used green tea leaves: moderate amount (as you like)
- Soy sauce: just a little (to taste)
- Bonito flakes: as you like (to garnish)
①Take the used green tea leaves out of the kyusu teapot and wrap them with paper towels to lightly dry.
②Place the used green tea leaves on a small plate then drip a couple of drops of soy sauce. Sprinkle bonito flakes on top to garnish if you like.
You can use ponzu or cold Japanese noodle dipping sauce instead of soy sauce. Also, you can add seasonings to change the taste such as sesame seeds, grated ginger, chili pepper and salt.
If you don’t like the bitterness of green tea leaves, use the used green tea leaves brewed a couple of times. They would taste light and less bitter.
As well as the ohitashi salad, there are more ways to eat used green tea leaves such as furikake rice seasoning, adding to fried rice and simmer to make tsukudani.
When the writer put used green tea leaves in chiffon cake batter to bake, the chiffon cake was like a Japanese dessert with mild green tea flavor.
Although English tea chiffon cakes are popular, we recommend trying green tea chiffon cakes as well if you can.