View Full Version : Leaf Concentrate (Or what to do when your really, really hungry)

09-25-2013, 09:05 PM
My husband doesn't mind eating weeds as long as they taste like doughnuts (I'll post a recipe for pine cambium doughnuts in the appropriate place.
So, this recipe is for emergency only. If you want to see the pictures that go with it, they are here: REMOVED URL.
I stumbled on some research about 10 years back, I thought, ‘Why doesn’t everybody know this?’ A small voluntary organization based in London, England, began promoting the use of leaf concentrate to counter malnutrition in children living in tropical villages and towns. Several studies were undertaken to establish the safety and nutritional value of the leaf concentrate in the diets of children. Find Your Feet ( LEAF FOR LIFE) has since started programs to teach women how to prepare leaf concentrate for malnourished children in Mexico, India, Bolivia, Sri Lanka, Ghana, Nicaragua and Bangladesh.

The thing about leaf concentrate (AKA leaf curd and leafu) is that it can be made out of any plant that isn’t poisonous. Plants that would have before been too tough, to fibrous, to old, to get much out of could be turned into a good source of protein with very low tech equipment needed.

How good a source of protein? The nutritional breakdown from the original work was that 20 grams of powder would provide 12 grams of protein. The amounts of vitamins and minerals (such as 440 mgs of calcium and 49 mg of iron) are impressive.

Leaf Curd is a homemade vegetable protein made from the coagulated protein curds of pulped edible leaves such as citrus, grasses and plants that one would normally consider not to be palatable.

The original research used kaffir lime (Citrus hystrix), which is used in a lot of South Asian cooking. I opted to use blackberry leaves, mallow, mint, mugwort and a few grape leaves for this batch, but I’ve used other greens as well since then, especially nettles, and the taste hasn’t changed much. Green. Certainly palatable.

Today, I’m seeing a lot of bloggers talking about leaf concentrate so the idea is catching on.

It doesn’t require specialized equipment. You need a knife (or a blender), a pot and a suitable strainer. And a tiny bit of heat. The toughest part is finding the right size weave in a strainer. I really haven’t found the perfect strainer yet, but the last time worked the best. For my first batch I used a paint strainer but the holes were too big and the protein slipped through. I’ve used a both a silk scarf that had a very ‘open’ weave and a cut up nylon. Cheesecloth works fine for the first ‘squeeze’, but the second ‘straining’ you have to be careful not to press or push the gelatin soft proteins through the weave. The first time I made this, I lost i/s of the proteins through the mesh.

For my first batch, I started with about 8 cups of greens. You should end up with about 1/4 cup of curd. Tree leaves can be used as well, as long as they are not a poisonous species. Now, here comes the hardest part of the process. Break the cells mechanically by chopping them very, very finely. It’s hard because it’s so tedious. You could use a blender just as easily, (and I did in later trials) but I wanted to know how monotonous the task would be to do by hand. Every.Single.Day.

Blendering the Greens

For the first squeeze, you can use cheesecloth to press the liquid out of the macerated plant material. Place the resulting liquid in a soup pot and heated it up to about 95 degrees. After about 2 minutes, you can see the proteins start to aggregate.

Remove from heat. Have ready a strainer lined with either a cotton or silk scarf. You might want to experiment to try to find something better. The final squeeze is the most temperamental part of the process.
I spread this paste out onto a baking pan to dry (see top picture), Once dried, the powder will keep for several weeks and can be used to add nutrients to bread and mixed with other foods.

You can also mold fresh undried curd into a ball or a cube, and keep it in the refrigerator for 2 days, adding it to foods. It won’t keep fresh much longer than that.

How does it taste? Much like it’s cousin , soybean tofu. Fairly bland, a little bit green. I have used mint and other aromatics and there as rarely been much of the smell of the mint (or the mugwort or anything else) in the curd. Certainly palatable.

You could use the paste in smoothies or as a sandwich spread. Eat it on crackers or tortillas. You could add the powder could to any baked good, etc. for a nutritional bump, or use on it’s own in survival situations.

So there you go. Honestly, I don’t expect any of you to make it. It’s a lot of work. But I post it once a year, just to ke

09-25-2013, 09:10 PM
Thank you so much for posting. I am vegetarian and this is something I'll definitely look into more closely.

09-25-2013, 09:15 PM
btw...I'll have fun delving into your blog. It's just the kind of thing I'm interested in.

09-25-2013, 09:19 PM
Thanks! I have a lot of fun making food. Check out the 'wild spice' and 'wild crackers'. Those are my students favorites, I think.

09-25-2013, 10:30 PM
Again, I had to remove your blog URL. You have some great information though. I encourage you to post it in your signature.

09-26-2013, 02:49 PM
Still trying to find out where the protein comes from in this...

09-26-2013, 03:01 PM
She left, Randy, I don't know if she'll be back or not. My guess is not.

09-26-2013, 07:33 PM
Why did I miss something?

09-26-2013, 08:06 PM
She didn't like the fact that we would not let her post the URL to her Blog.

Lil K
03-27-2014, 06:15 PM
Why can't she post the URL?

Besides that, thank you for posting it sounds like a good thing to keep in mind.

03-27-2014, 07:06 PM
Why can't she post the URL?

Besides that, thank you for posting it sounds like a good thing to keep in mind.

It is against the Rules to post the url for your site or blog because of spammers , It is however perfectly fine to put it in your signature so its always there every time a post is made.

03-28-2014, 03:30 AM
If it was allowed folks would register only to promote their site, which is what I suspect she was trying to do.

Solar Geek
03-28-2014, 10:11 AM
Found her and the blog with recipes. Search "making leaf curd scotchheather" exactly like that and use Google. She is the first listing. Rick hope this does not violate the rules. Remove if it does. SG
Edit: 2nd time I ran the search she was 2nd listing with the word "wildness" in her listing.

03-28-2014, 02:40 PM
Nope. You can post any link you like as long as you don't have an interest in it and it's not porn or inflammatory. You just can't post a link to your own site.

04-15-2014, 06:50 PM
If I cared, I'd google for "textured vegetable protein". It's been around for 40 years or so.

04-16-2014, 06:54 AM
"If I cared?" How condescending is that? You're "know it all" attitude it beginning to get a bit boring. The woman posted on another option. Whether you use it or not, agree with it or not, is up to you. But you don't have to talk down to folks to prove your worth.

04-16-2014, 10:23 AM
I can hear tic-toc in the distance.........

04-16-2014, 04:00 PM
why should I care if you're bored? Not my problem. Find something to interest you, or be bored. It's all the same to me.

04-16-2014, 04:23 PM
I knew I could hear the tic toc.......

04-16-2014, 04:57 PM
Why should I care if you're banned? Not my problem. Find another forum if they will have you, or not. It's all the same to me. Buhahahahahahahaha!