Monday, September 6, 2010

Tryin' Out the Moringa/Molunggay Leaves As a Cooked Green

We've had the frozen leaves (our own) in smoothies, but we don't get the benefit of a taste test that way, since the green flavor is masked by the sweet ingredients.

SO...tonight I'm trying our first ever Moringa dish for supper, a Filipino style soup, and I'll saute some in a little oil and garlic, too, to get a feel for our preference one way of the other as far as the taste.

More on that...there are storms moving through intermittently and it keeps giving us power surges...don't want to deep six my computer, so shall be back...after the taste test, woo!

Update...quickly (Jack gets to be at home tonight, so I'm opting to be with him rather than the computer) :)

The cooked !!!

It tastes like no other green I've eaten, and is at THE top of my taste preferences of any greens.  I know that might sound like heresy especially from a girl raised in the South, but this is in another whole category...better than turnip greens, collards, kale, cabbage...even by a slight margin chard.  My husband, who is the original meat-and-starch man...LOVED it...and will require no persuasion to eat them regularly.

I am SO HAPPY we tried these cooked!!!  We felt so full after a single bowl of soup with the greens the prevalent featured ingredient that we couldn't eat anything else.

In future posts, I'll go into detail about the benefits of Moringa, which are legion, and the ease with which it can be grown even if you don't have a garden or TIME to any growing zone at all except maybe the the South it's a perennial and further north it's an annual.

You have no idea how excited we are about this...the leaves we just ate have the same amino acids found in MEAT protein and the highest nutrient counts in every other category of about any food we've ever seen.

OK, I'm shutting up, but only long enough to spend time with Jack.

I'll be back, and will be posting more about this!

Here's a teaser video from YouTube...


Wendy said...

What great information! I just want to add that it's very useful to know of a potential staple crop that most others would overlook as being just a tree :).

I had a discussion one day with our outdoor skills teacher who said, basically, that the most overlooked, and really the most useful, crops are tree crops. As he pointed out, a properly managed tree farm could feed more people a more diverse and nutritionally balanced diet than the equivalent land sown with traditional food crops. Further, trees are better for the environment as a whole, than most traditional food crops.

We don't have Moringa in Maine, but we do have oak trees, maple trees, basswood trees, apple trees, and all sorts of pine trees. With our mixed deciduous/coniferous forests, we could certainly feed ourselves. The key is to (re)discover how to use these gifts - like the work that has been done with the moringa.

Robbyn said...

Wendy, we are thinking along the same lines. And y'know, some of the literature we've read says that Moringa can be grown in your area as an annual for its greens/ really does grow that fast even in a short summer. It would be interesting to see if that's true. We're interested in trees for the additional reason that for the most part passersby don't usually look at a tree and think "food!"...and unless they'd think a certain tree good for firewood especially, there's a good chance the mob mentality might leave well enough alone in an emergency when other things that are more obviously edible would be confiscated by force. There is so much green growth in Florida among plants and bushes considered weeds that our moringa trees simply look right at home among them...and they don't need cultivation, so they definately "blend." They also don't have deep shade, so they pair well with a lot of things without changing sun exposure very much.

You're exactly right about re-learning traditional uses for trees in any location. Just knowing that pine needles can be used at any time as a tea for their vitamin C, or the inner part of the bark for an alternate emergency food is amazing. We can't wait to learn more about "food forests"...know any especially good resources for studying more about those?

Mr. H. said...

We are looking forward to watching your video...I'll wait until Micki can watch it with me though. This a very interesting plant and I love that you are finding so many ways to use the leaves. We have recently been eating burdock leaves, the young greens are very pleasant cooked but it sounds like your moringa leaves are really tasty.

OK, we watched the video...I'm sold on it.:) Amazing plant.

Kimberly said...

VERY informative! I had no idea!

Robbyn said...

Mike, I'm very curious about the mention I've seen several places about its adaptability even for temperate growing zones like yours as an annual. I'd hardly believe that about a tree, but after seeing how quickly it has grown for us both from seed and from the root after winter freezes, it makes me wonder if it would truly be an option nearly anywhere that has a summer. We've never seen ours fully develop to the fruiting stage, but so far this year we've gotten to the flowering stage. If we never are able to see pods develop and reap them and the seeds, it's still ok by us since it's frankly easier to gather the branches and leaves than it is for us to fight our heroic bermuda stand for cleared garden space for cultivated garden space as yet...and the trees need no such space. They are easy to cut through, and Jack uses a serrated kitchen knife to cut through the branches and even to cut back the trunks, if you can believe it. The wood is good only for chipping and mulching or for a temporary (one season) support such as bean pole teepee or such, or for quick-start feeder kindling. We're trying different things...keeping some cut back sort of like pollarding and using the new (quick!) growth, letting others get tall and stripping the branches and using what grows back...and we'll try cutting some of the branches halfway back and see what regrowth happens there. In even our area, ours have died back all the way to the root in the winter, but always come back when it gets warm again in the summer. I'd LOVE to know if these would work even in your area. We couldn't believe when we visited the ECHO global farm how the seed hulls literally separated sediment out of water and acted as a purifier just right in a glass bottle! Anyway, it dawned on us when we were eating the soup last night that with the level of nutrition of the leaves, we will never starve. Needing to lose weight as we do, that may bring a laugh. But ultimately, we're searching for the subsistence foods for our homeplace that would mean no more dependence on the store no matter our shopping preferences, if it were ever needed. I think so far that with a store of dried beans and with these greens and some of the others that grow almost without intervention here, I honestly think we'd make it if we had nothing else but clean water. But I digress... :)

Wendy said...

The absolute best resource we've found for "wild edibles" - of all sorts - is Samuel Thayer's books, and he does cover, in particular, the oak tree - which grows all over the US in just about every climate, and while some acorns are better than others, all of them can be food ... with some processing :).

I also have Martin Crawford's new book Creating a Forest Garden, but I haven't taken as much time as I need to really evaluate how good it will be.

Re: Growing Moringa up here. My only hesitation is introducing something that's not native, because sometimes it has some really bad consequences. That said, Japanese knotweed, another non-native, but horribly invasive species, is edible, but most people wouldn't identify it as such, and so, even if moringa ends up being an invasive, perhaps it's worth it for us to consider. I'll have to think on it :).