Arbol de Marango/The Moringa Tree/ Moringa Oleifera

Moringa: The naturalized tree in Central America.
For centuries indigenous people in northern India and many parts of Africa have known the many benefits of Moringa oleifera. Its uses are as unique as the many names it is known by, such as Clarifier tree, Horseradish tree, Drumstick tree and in East Africa it has the alias “Mother’s best friend”. Moringa is the most widely cultivated species of the genus family Moringaceae. It is a multi-purpose tree cultivated throughout the tropics. The Moringa tree is believed to have been introduced into Guatemala in the eighteenth century. However, it has been naturalized in at least 70 countries across the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Moringa has over 150 names around the world so keep this fact in mind when looking for the fresh leaves. Moringa oleifera is a deciduous tree occasionally growing up to 15 m in height, but is usually less than 10 m tall. It has a large underground rootstock and normally a single main trunk with a wide, open and typically umbrella-shaped crown. The trunk is generally 10-45 cm wide and covered in a pale-grey bark, but may occasionally reach up to 60 cm in diameter. The large alternately arranged leaves are borne on petioles 4-15 cm long. These leaves are tri-pinnate and usually 25-60 cm long, but they may occasionally be as small as 6.5 cm long and as large as 90 cm long. The leaves have 5-11 main branches that are pulvinate. Each of these branches is borne on a stalk 1-3 cm long and has 5-11 smaller branches.
Flowers are white to cream, fragrant and about 2.5 cm across. They are borne on pedicels 12-21 mm long and the flower buds are ovoid in shape. Each flower has 5 petal-like sepals and 5 petals. They are white or cream, sometimes with yellow streaks in the centre, and are usually puberulent. The white or cream petals are slightly spoon-shaped, 1-2 cm long by 5-6 mm wide, with prominent veins. They have acute apices and are glabrous or puberulent at the base. The large elongated capsules (usually 18-50 cm long and 1-3 cm wide, or occasionally 10-90 cm long) have 9 indistinct lengthwise ribs. These fruit are green and somewhat tomentose when young, but turn pale brown as they mature. They are dehiscent and split open via three valves when fully mature. The numerous seeds, about 20 in each fruit, are sub-globose or slightly three-angled (7-15 mm across) with three papery wings (5-25 mm long and 4-7 wide). They are dark brown or blackish in color and embedded in the pits of the valves of the fruit.
Other than that, it is an exceptionally nutritious vegetable tree with a variety of potential uses. The leaves contain all essential amino acids and are rich in protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, and minerals and are used in many Spanish recipes. The dried leaves as flour are used as nutritional supplements for mothers at risk of malnutrition and malnourished children. The powder obtained from the leaves has also been administered to pregnant women as a supplement. Extracts from the leaves are also used as a growth hormone and as livestock feed. The Moringa tree also yields beautiful flowers all year round. These edible flowers are a great source of calcium and potassium and are frequently used to make tea. Sadly to say, for people that live (like me) in the western states, we can grow Moringa in the backyard. But Moringa doesn’t like the cold and loses it leaves in the winter. For those of you that have a true winter, where it freezes and snows, I recommend that you plant Moringa in pots, keeping them outside in the spring and summer and bring them inside when it gets cold. If you love salad greens, spinach, collards, and other greens, you will love Moringa. Right off the tree, it almost has a spinach-watercress taste.
Lentils with Moringa Leaves

2 cups Moringa 2 cups
100 g Toor dal
2 tps Oil
1 Onion
1 Tomato
1/4 tsp Asafetida
1/2 tsp Turmeric pwd
1/2 tsp Methi seeds
1/4 tps Mustard
1/2 tps Cumin
1 Red chilly
1 tbsp Red chilly pwd
1/2 tbsp Coriander pwd
1/2 tbsp Sambar pwd
1 tbsp Tamarind juice
Salt to taste

Wash and pressure cook the toor dal along with asafetida, turmeric pwd. Heat oil in a pan, season with methi seeds, mustard, cumin, red chilly and curry leaves. Wait to crackle. Add chopped onion and sauté till it turns light pink. Add chopped tomatoes, stir until it is cooked. Now add turmeric pwd, red chilly pwd, coriander pwd and salt. Stir well add Murungai (drumstick leaves). Sauté in low flame. Add sambar pwd , salt , water and allow to cook covered for 5 mins. Now add the mashed dal, tamarind juice. Stir well and allow to boil for 2 to 3 mins. Serve hot with white steamed rice.

Moringa and Coconut Gravy

Moringa – 14, 2-inch pieces
Thai Green Chilies – 4
Turmeric – 1/2 tspn
Chili Powder – 1/2 tspn

For Grinding
Coconut – 1 cup
Jeera – 1 tspn
Garlic Cloves – 4

Coconut oil – 2 Tbspn
Shallots – 3
Curry Leaves – 1 sprig
Dry red chilies – 2 broken into 4 pieces

Cook Moringa in 1 cup or enough water to immerse them together with turmeric, ¼ tspn salt and green chilies. Cooked to done but not falling apart. That will be about 10 minutes. Note that I have used frozen drumsticks. Grind coconut, jeera and garlic cloves to a fine paste, and add to the cooked drumsticks. Use water to make a thin or thick gravy to your preference. Take the pan off the heat as soon as the curry heats through. Check for salt and add to taste. Heat coconut oil in a small pan splutter the mustard. Follow it with shallots, red chilies, and curry leaves, and pour over the curry. Serve with rice.

About zoom50

“It’s amazing how people can get so excited about a rocket to the moon and not give a damn about smog, oil leaks, the devastation of the environment with pesticides, hunger, disease”
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6 Responses to Arbol de Marango/The Moringa Tree/ Moringa Oleifera

  1. bimbalo says:

    Zoom, glad to see you in this morning.
    Everything OK !
    Yesterday evening rain is falling , my drumstick tree look very fresh with white blossam.
    I’ve look at them and think about your disappear.
    In my country make it to hot soup by hot spicy ingredient and pieces of tomato.
    They called “Kang ma-rum”

    • zoom50 says:

      Thank you, Bimbalo! So glad to read your comment today.
      Oh wow! I can imagine how beautiful your Drumstick tree is! and many thanks for thinking of me 🙂

      Very interesting. I must look for Kang ma-rum recipe. By the way, do you have any Drumstick flowers recipes that you like? Please share it with me 🙂

  2. ugoagha william says:

    Beautiful discoverelyu

  3. My company supply moringa and Tetrapleura tetraptera( prekese). We located in Ghana, west Africa. Contact us on or on phone ( 00233246060573/ 00233201487749

  4. hi!,I like your writing so a lot! shaare we be in contact
    more approximately your article on AOL? I require a specialist
    oon this space to solve my problem. Mayybe that’s you!
    Taking a look forward to see you.

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