Moringa

Moringa oleifera English common names include moringa, and drumstick tree (from the appearance of the long, slender, triangular seed pods), horseradish tree (from the taste of the roots which resembles horseradish), or ben oil tree (from the oil derived from the seeds). Many parts of the moringa are edible. Regional uses of the moringa as food vary widely, and include: The immature seed pods, called "drumsticks", popular in Asia and Africa. Leaves, particularly in the Cambodia, Philippines, South India, Sri Lanka and Africa. In some regions, the young seed pods are most commonly eaten, while in others, the leaves are the most commonly used part of the plant. The flowers are edible when cooked and are said to taste like mushrooms. The bark, sap, roots, leaves, seeds, oil, and flowers are used in traditional medicine in several countries. In Jamaica, the sap is used for a blue dye. The leaves are the most nutritious part of the plant, being a significant source of B vitamins, vitamin C, provitamin A as beta-carotene, vitamin K, manganese and protein, among other essential nutrients. The leaves are cooked and used like spinach. In addition to being used fresh as a substitute for spinach, its leaves are commonly dried and crushed into a powder used in soups and sauces. The immature seed pods, called "drumsticks", are commonly consumed in South Asia. They are prepared by parboiling, and cooked in a curry until soft. The seeds, sometimes removed from more mature pods and eaten like peas or roasted like nuts, contain high levels of vitamin C and moderate amounts of B vitamins and dietary minerals. Mature seeds yield 38–40% edible oil called ben oil from its high concentration of behenic acid. The refined oil is clear and odorless, and resists rancidity. The roots are shredded and used as a condiment in the same way as horseradish.

Season: available year-round

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