The moringa plant (Moringa oleifera) is known worldwide for its nutritional and medicinal benefits and industrial uses. Almost every part of the moringa plant has nutritional value. The pod is cooked as a vegetable in India and exported to many countries for Indian expatriates, fresh or canned. The root can be used as substitute for horseradish. Foliage is eaten as greens, boiled, fried, in soups or for seasoning. Dried leaf powder can be added to any kind of meal as a nutritional supplement. The seed can be roasted and eaten like a peanut.
The bright green leaves of moringa oleifera (drumstick tree) are a rich source of vitamin A and C that help in strengthening bones. Interestingly, 80 per cent of the production of moringa leaves happens in India, fetching crores of foreign exchange for the country.
Growing at a rate of 26-30 per cent annually, the export of moringa leaves is a big business in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Odisha. The major countries which import moringa leaves are China, the US, Germany, Canada, South Korea and European countries.
India exported moringa leaves worth Rs 14.6 crore in 2015, compared to Rs 11.61 crore in 2014. The export of these leaves was worth Rs 2.5 crore in January and February this year. The latest trend in the moringa market is the shift towards organic leaves and usage of solar driers.
In India, moringa tress are grown in about one lakh acre. It is grown in about 5,000 acres in Theni district in Tamil Nadu alone. Currently, the price of moringa leaves is at Rs 70-80 per kg and that of moringa seed is Rs 500/kg.
Moringa have many medicinal value, There is a difference processing method for moringa leaves and drumstick.
1. Moringa Leaves
The Moringa 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 and are commonly dried and crushed into a powder used in soups and sauces.
Moringa leaves can be consumed fresh, cooked or as powder. It can be used in tea, in capsules, added to beverages, sprinkled in salades or soup... etc. There is endless ways to incorporate Moringa into the diet.
Process outline of the moringa leave is Harvesting, Washing, Draining, Stripping, Drying, Packaging and Storage.
2. Drumstick Powder
Processing of Drumstick Powder
Processing outline for drumstick powder is Washing, Grading, Steaming and Blanching, Pressing, Drying, Grinding and Packaging
1) Washing: Fresh mature drumsticks are selected for processing. They are washed to remove adhering dirt.
2) Grading: The vegetable is graded to remove damaged and immature sticks.
3) Steaming and blanching: The sticks are steamed and blanched in huge tanks to facilitate pulp extraction.
4) Pressing: The soft sticks are pressed between rollers to extract the pulp. Slurry preparation Thick slurry is prepared with the pulp obtained.
5) Drying: The slurry is dried in a vacuum drier with the core drying temperature ranging between 50 to 55 degrees centigrade.
6) Grinding: It is ground to a fine powder along with some edible starches and anti-caking agents.
Source: Alliance Engineering Consultant Research