Food From Various Parts of the Moringa Tree

moringa tree

I have just found out that many helpful things can be had from different parts of the Moringa oleifera tree.  The following is a rundown list, some of which I have personally tried and some which I am simply reporting here.

Moringa leaves
Fresh moringa leaves.  You can strip moringa leaflets from the fern-like leaves and add them to soups, stews, sauces and even instant noodles.  It will not taste bitter if you do not overcook it.  Moringa leaves should be the last ingredient to be put into the pot.  For instance, when I cook fish stew, I boil water first, cook the spices, then the fish, then season with salt and drop my moringa leaves last.  Just 15 seconds or less after putting in the moringa leaves, I remove the stew from the fire and serve it immediately.  That way, more of the nutrients, especially the heat-sensitive ones, are retained.  In the Philippines, every homemaker does this.
Moringa leaf powder.  I understand that moringa leaves can also be found in the Asian section of supermarkets in temperate countries but that they are in frozen form.  I don’t think these would taste as good for soup as the garden-fresh ones.  I think the best thing to do is to make moringa leaf powder out of them.  Just dry the moringa leaves in the shade until they are crispy-crumbly-dry.  Dry in the shade so as to preserve 50 to 70% of the Vitamin A.  Then rub the dried leaves over a fine wire mesh or screen to make moringa leaf powder.  You can store this powder in a dark-colored container and add it to soups, to your cup of coffee or you can add it to flour when you bake bread.  A tablespoon of moringa powder added to a child’s meal gives 90% of his RDA or recommended dietary allowance for Vitamin A, 40% of his RDA for Calcium and 25% for iron.

Moringa pods
The Ilocano tribe of the Philippines traditionally use young moringa pods in cooking their favorite dish, pinakbet, a sauteed dish of different vegetables seasoned with fermented fish.  In India, the pods are called drumsticks and are sold fresh or canned.  Canned pods are exported to Europe and Asia where they are eaten like green beans.  The taste is somewhat like asparagus.  Compared to moringa leaves, the pods have fewer calories, higher fiber, twice the copper and have basically the same amount of the other nutrients.

Moringa flowers
When a Moringa tree gets to be 8 months to a year old, it begins to flower and continues to do so the whole year round.  Moringa flowers in Haiti are made into tea which they drink to treat colds.  Moringa flowers are good sources of calcium and phosphorus.  Beekeepers like to plant moringa trees around their beefarm because moringa flowers are good sources for nectar.

Moringa seeds
Seeds from mature pods (not the young ones) are about 40% oil.  Moringa oil is 73% oleic acid and therefore similar to olive oil.  Few know it but this oil has been sold for many years as “ben oil” and is used in cooking and in making perfume, soap and light.  Extraction of this oil is laborious and requires special equipment.  A simple way for us ordinary homemakers is to remove the seeds from the pods and boil or fry them like they were peas.

Final Note:  What I have written are just the food uses of various parts of the Moringa tree.  There are many more industrial uses such as for water treatment, chicken feed, plant growth hormones, etc.
Clearly the Moringa tree is amazing.

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