Ingredient Name: Wolfberry leaves (also known as goji berry leaves, barbary matrimony vine leaves, bocksdorn leaves, Duke of Argyll’s tea tree leaves, red medlar leaves or matrimony vine leaves)
Traditional Chinese Name: 枸杞 (gǒu gǒu)
Yes, this picture is of the wolfberry plant! It was grown in my mother’s backyard vegetable garden and for the sole purpose of soup production. I used to drink this soup all the time as a child and it still brings back fond memories of my great soup past. However, I never (and still don’t) enjoy eating the leaves, but they do make for a healthy and rich soup. The taste is very distinct and it’s either you love it or hate it. The Chinese say that the taste is very “golden”.
- Young shoots grow to be about 2-3 m in height with heart shaped light to dark green leaves
- They grow in bundles with a very strong and firm bark or stem
- A relatively easy plant to grow and are suitable for growth in most regions (they often grow wildly in fields)
- They are slightly cold in nature and the leaves are slightly bitter to taste
- Leaves are often used in Chinese herbal teas and soups (or as a leaf vegetable in dishes)
How do I prepare it?
- Remove from stem and rinse in warm water
Where can I buy this?
- Most Asian supermarkets will carry this produce fresh
What is the cost?
- Wolfberry leaves are very affordable with a few dollars (CAD) per large bunch
- Has an effective to remove heatiness
- It aids in reducing thirst and has a calming effect on the body (thereby eliminating anxiety)
- Extremely high carotene content
- Excellent source of Vitamin E
- Some species of wolfberries and leaves are known to contain a toxic ingredient called Atropine (naturally occurring)
- Not many concrete studies are available on the benefits of wolfberries and their leaves
- Said to be slightly cooling, so precaution to be taken with women who are pregnant in their first trimester (as cooling ingredients cause contractions)
- Fresh wolfberry leaves can keep for up to 3 days in the fridge
How many varieties are there in goji berries and which one is the best for tea or for cooking. Is this one ofthe five spices for cooking duck, the dried fruits? Thanks.
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