Ahitaba (scientifica name: Angelica keiskei), was discovered in Japan in the Longevity Islands. This Asian herb is a type of Angelica and belongs to the celery family. It is also known as Chinese Angelica, or Dong Quai. The use of the Ashitaba plant dates back to the Ming Dynasty (circa 1518-1593). It is easy to identify the Ashitaba plant by its yellow sap.
Dry your Ashitaba plants to make tea and capsules. Pull the entire plant from the soil or take clippings and allow the plant to continue growing. Hold the Ashitaba upside down and tie the stems together with any kind of string. Use a foot of string or more so you can hang the bunch up to dry. Hang the Ashitaba upside down on a nail or hook away from the sunlight. The time it takes to dry is dependent on humidity conditions. One week or less is usually sufficient
Use the stems and leaves of your dried Ashitaba plant to make a tea. Break up the Ashitaba into pieces suitable for tea. Put the dry leaves and stems in a plastic bag suitable for food, place a thin dish towel over the bag and roll a rolling pin back and forth about 10 times. You want the consistency to be like loose green tea, not a powder but pieces that are small enough that you can easily measure them with a scoop. You may need to cut the stems with a scissors.
Measure out approximately one teaspoon and put it into eight to 12 ounces of freshly boiled water. Allow the Ashitaba to steep for three minutes or more. You can eat the Ashtitaba or make the tea using a tea ball.
Use your Ashitaba plants as a healthy ingredient in soups. Add one fresh Ashitaba leaf or shoot for every two cups of soup. Remove the leaves from the plant by pinching them with your fingernails or using scissors. Wash the leaves thoroughly in cold water and then dry them by laying them out on a towel for about five minutes. Using a knife or scissors, dice the leaves into small pieces. Stir the Ashitaba leaves into the soup at the end of the cooking process so they do not impart a bitter taste to your dish. Another idea is to add them as garnish before the soup goes to the table.
If your Ashitaba plant is small, you can harvest the leaves individually rather than clipping an entire stalk. To harvest your Ashitaba plant leaf by leaf, choose mature leaves from the base of the stem or shoot. The mature leaves contain more of the active ingredients than the new shoots.
You can eat Ashitabe raw or steamed if you like the taste.