General Information: The greenskinned, tough, 1-2 foot long, sticklike vegetable, is surprisingly soft and fleshy inside. The opaque white flesh, embedded with pea-like seeds, covered in layers of skins, is sweetish, fragrant, and tasty to eat, when cooked.

They get their name from the fact that they do resemble the musical drumsticks.

Drumsticks are the seed pods of the Moringa oleifera tree. The Moringa tree grows mainly in semi-arid tropical and subtropical areas. While it grows best in dry sandy soil, it tolerates poor soil, including coastal areas. It is a fast-growing, drought-resistant tree that apparently is native only to the southern foothills of the Himalayas. Today it is widely cultivated in Africa, Central and South America, Sri Lanka, India, Mexico, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Considered one of the worlds most useful trees, as almost every part of the Moringa tree can be used for food, or has some other beneficial property. In the tropics it is used as foliage for livestock.

The immature green pods, called "drumsticks" are probably the most valued and widely used part of the tree. They are commonly consumed in India, and are generally prepared in a similar fashion to green beans and have a slight asparagus taste. The seeds are sometimes removed from more mature pods and eaten like peas or roasted like nuts.

The seeds may be crushed and used as a flocculant to purify water. The Moringa seeds yield 38-40% edible oil (called Ben oil, from the high concentration of behenic acid contained in the oil) that can be used in cooking, cosmetics, and lubrication. The refined oil is clear, odorless, and resists rancidity at least as well as any other botanical oil. The seed cake remaining after oil extraction may be used as a fertilizer.

Nutritional: The Moringa or "drumstick" tree (moringa oleifera) an "all-natural multi-vitamin" and a natural energy booster and its leaves contain high amounts of Vitamin A (four times more than carrots), Vitamin C (seven times more than oranges), protein (twice that of milk), iron(three times the iron of spinach) calcium (four times more than milk) and potassium (triple the amount in bananas) and are low in fat and carbohydrates.

The leaves and pods are highly effective in preventing/reversing vision related problems and respiratory ailments, especially in children. The juice from the moringa leaves is believed to stabilize blood pressure, the flowers are used to cure inflammations, the pods are used for joint pain, the roots are used to treat rheumatism, and the bark can be chewed as a digestive and the gum that exudes from the stem is used to treat headaches.

It is antibacterial, stimulant, anti-epileptic rubrifacient, carminative, stomachic, abortif, cardiotonic, antispasmodic, anti-flatulent and antiparalytic and and a good cleanser.

Applications: As a general rule, the hard ridges of the drumsticks should be scraped with a peeler, but do not over peel, as the vegetable will become difficult to cook and stir. The skin should also be intact to enable eating the fleshy part, when cooked, or the skin will break and one cannot enjoy it to the fullest.

Ideal size of drumstick pieces, are about 2-1/2 inches in length.

Tender drumstick leaves, finely chopped, make an excellent garnish for any veggies, dals, sambars, salads, etc. One can use the same in place of or with coriander, as these leaves have high medicinal value.

If the pulp has to be scraped out after cooking the sticks, then keep the pieces as long as 4-5 inches long. Also do not scrape the skin before boiling. This will help to hold and scrape them easier and with lesser mess.

Recipes: 1

Drumsticks in Red Gravy
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