by Donna Torrey
Got Moringa? Moringa is the new “milk”, and throughout the world is called the Miracle Tree. Moringa has been around for a very long time, and those of us wonks who love anything edible and nutritious, have known about this tree for over 20 years.
A web search will bring lots of information about this tree, but I want to give you some tips on how to grow it here. Moringa loves our soil, believe it or not, which is one of its endearing qualities. It is also drought tolerant, growing where almost nothing else will. This is why it is so important in areas of the world where there is little infrastructure.
So, once you have planted it, there is not much to do but harvest it. Moringa grows very quickly from seed, and should be pruned by half when it reaches about a foot, which is about when you can start harvesting the leaves. If left to grow, it will reach about 20 feet. It must be routinely chopped back to around five feet in order to keep it as a bush and to harvest the leaves. It is rarely grown to its maximum height when used as an edible crop. This is one plant that you can hat rack to your heart’s content, which also makes it ideal for container gardening.
Moringa is perfect to use in green smoothies; its mild flavor is totally masked by the other additions, yet its nutritional attributes remain. In a scant 1/4 cup of leaves: 6.5 g protein; 11,500 IU Vitamin A; 134 mg Vitamin C; 300 mg Calcium; 3 mg iron. Almost no other vegetable packs such a dense nutritional punch. And you can grow this! Dry Moringa to use as tea or for soups (never waste those trimmings).
Moringa plants and seeds are always available at The Garden Gate, located at Sears, 2251 North Federal Highway, Pompano Citi Centre, corner of Copans Road and Federal Highway, 954-783-4283, DonnasGardenGate.com. See ad page 55.
Pick off several of the larger compound leaves of Moringa, and strip off the leaflets to yield 1/4 – 1/2 cup or more to taste.
Stuff them in the blender
Add frozen fruit, such as banana, mango, peach, pineapple, cherries, strawberries or avocado. Can be fresh as well, but won’t have that frozen drink quality. Use what you have on hand. (I like to freeze bananas whole in their skins when they start to get overripe, so I always have a plentiful supply. Let them thaw for a few minutes to soften their skins, and they slip right off.)
Add one cup of your favorite milk; I like coconut milk, or water, or even kombucha. Adjust the amount according to how thick you like it.
Now, add any or all of the optional flavorings:
Honey or Stevia, Cinnamon, Lemon Juice and a little of the zest, Mint, Ginger, 2 Tablespoons or so of Flax or Chia seeds, Coconut or other healthy oil. Blend well, and enjoy.
Green never tasted so good!