Cairo: For long years, palm fronds have been used to make baskets and seats. But a Saudi man says the leaves of the ubiquitous palm trees in the homeland have been put to fresh palatable usage: a Saudi Matcha-like juice. The drink is rich in nutrients, contends Saud Al Quseibi, who has innovated several palm dates-based products.
He said the idea of the drink, dubbed “Safcha”, popped up after he read a scientific paper issued by the Saud University highlighting the nutritious benefits of palm fonds.
“The ideas was: Why not grind the fronds into powder form and use it to produce something similar to the Japanese Matcha?” he told Saudi news portal Akhbar24, referring to the Japanese green tea.
He added that the resulting juice contains 23 per cent proteins, 22 per cent fibres as well as minerals, vitamins, calcium, and antioxidants.
Al Qusaibi said the drink was introduced at a recent festival for palm dates held in the region of Al Ihsa in eastern Saudi Arabia where it generated high interest.
“Safcha” is an amalgamation of the two words “saf”, Arabic for palm leaves, and Matcha.
Hot or cold
The caffeine-free product can be served hot or cold with honey or milk additives.
Al Qusaibi also displayed cookies to which the ground powder was added.
A video posted by the portal shows the merchandise in demand by eager clients.
“It’s a 100 per cent Saudi product. No one has preceded us in doing it,” he was quoted by Saudi newspaper Al Yaum as saying.
Maryam Al Zaid, a partner in the product, said the palm leaves are also used in making sweets and delicacies.
“Palm leaves have many benefits because they contain many antioxidants and a high percentage of Vitamin C,” she said.
“It helps protect the body from diseases, enhances immunity, improves digestion, reduces cholesterol and increases energy,” she added.
Saudi Arabia produces over 1.6 million tonnes of dates annually.
The number of palm trees in the kingdom has reached 31.2 million, covering 107,000 hectares.
Saudi exports of dates and its derivatives grew by 5.4 per cent in 2022 over the previous year, according to official figures.