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Moringa Oleifera


Well, I realized to my shock that we don't have a thread in here on this yet, and to me it is one of the central plants that people should be discussing, like on the other forum what mango and mangosteen are. But when I tried to go back to the old forum to copy it in, the old forum seems to be missing entirely.

So I guess we'll start over.

Moringa, which we had pages of information on, is a stellar plant, which should be planted in hot climates all over the world. It is very drought resistant once established, and grows even in areas of terrible soil and high PH. It is extremely useful, and 100% edible - you can eat the leaves, the flowers, the pods, and the seeds, and I believe even the bark and roots [careful though - the root in large quantities can be poisonous, especially the root bark]. It is EXTREMELY medicinal, with near-miraculous properties. It could in large part solve the world's starvation problem in hot areas, and also many medical ills. For a plant, it has very high protein content, which I believe is a complete protein.

The plant also appreciates heavy pruning, so if you eat a lot of it that just helps it to grow back all the faster. It tends to grow extremely rapidly, with as much as 22 ft of growth in a year! But you can keep cutting it back - or try what I have done, which is to bend the top and tie them into ever-continuing circles so it fills in and grows like a high shrub rather than a tree - every place that the trunk is stressed, a new branch shoots out, all reaching upwards. It's an odd choice, but I needed privacy on that side of the yard, and I also didn't want to have to reach high for food.

The plant flowers prolifically most of the year here. It does get much fuller in a rainy season, but does not die with drought. For me, plants in the second year start to be capable of making and holding pods, and you need about a full year of flowering before it starts to be able to make many pods. It appears to be self-fertile, although I am growing a row of them so can't vouch for that with 100% certainty.

 I can only assume that someone who lives in an area of year-round high rainfall, and rich soil, would probably have extremely bushy and tall plants in no time. As it is, I live in an area with high PH mix of coral rocks and sand and salt, with very little soil content, and half the year we have essentially desert conditions. So in that harsh environment, without any assistance my plants grow only about 3ft a year. The more they have to draw from, the more they grow.

The only drawback? For me, the taste. Eaten raw, the leaves and flowers taste like an exceptionally strong kind of raw broccoli, and burn in the mouth. So I find it a bit unpleasant for salads, except in small quantities - like radishes, for instance. Cooked, I find the leaves to have some kind of deeper taste that makes me a bit nauseous. BUT, cooked flowers taste kind of like popcorn, which is odd but pleasant.

Do NOT consume these like they are just any vegetable... they have strong medicinal properties. Start slowly, and work your way up. I have seen mention that any more that around 7 tsps fresh plant (which is how much it takes to make 1 tsp of it dried and powdered) can cause stomach upset. So don't make an entire large salad of it, or throw it in a pot and eat it like there's no tomorrow. I tend to eat only 1 whole new branch a day, as a visual reference point. I plan to grow 10, but right now I have a row of 6. So eating it alone, it is easy enough to just pull a single new branch off of each, and go down the line to a new plant each day so they have time for regrowth. My plants are about 2.5 years old now. Just at the point where they are starting to make a lot of pods, so hopefully I can plant a few more plants from the seeds. I have not had 100% germination success with seeds though - maybe only around 30%. They need kind of a lot of water, consistently, to get anything to come up - so planting them in the rainy season would likely work best.

Moringa is an excellent plant, that should be a staple of tropical gardening.

Here is recipe when you have   unripe  Moringa Oleifera beans (also called  drumsticks in India) in your garden:


Also read:

   Ganatra Tejas H et al  IRJP 2012,3(6)
                                                  on therapeutic uses of Moringa

Thank you, mangaba!

What size should the pods be when you pick them to eat as a vegetable? So they taste like okra (bhindi)? (I only wonder because to me they look a bit like long okra pods, and in curry that just makes sense to me...)

Moringa pods for eating as vegetable have to be green.  When a moringa bean is ripe it is tough on the outside. If you open it you will find a light green pod (size of a pea) surrounded by 3 wings. To consume, the  peas should be soft. Normally a moringa attains a length of  a foot. Pinch the outside skin with your nails and see if you can remove the skin easily. If you succeed cut it in 2 inch lengths, clean the outside green skin. You can then follow the recipe and put it to cook in the curry.
  To eat the moringa you put it in your mouth, press you teeth against the moringa piece and pull the outside fibre , and  eat the pulp with seed.


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