The moringa plant is used for a remarkably large number of purposes. Parts of this plant are used as medicine, food and cosmetics due to the high nutritive value in them. In fact, the leaves of the moringa plant are considered to be more nutritious than tea or coffee. The leaves can be consumed fresh or cooked. They can be converted into powder which can then have a variety of applications.
Making Powder from Moringa Leaves
There are three main processes which the Moringa seeds and leaves need to undergo in order to be transformed into powder. They are harvesting, drying and grinding.
- Harvesting Moringa Leaves
Moringa leaves can be harvested as soon as the trees have established themselves. There are no particular harvesting seasons. If you have a large plot of moringa trees for producing leaf powder, you may want to trim back the plants to a manageable height so that the leaves can be plucked without too much effort. Various methods of harvesting are available and you can use any one. You can trim each branch by half or you can pluck only a few leaves per branch.
Once plucked, the moringa leaves should be separated from the stems by hand. During this process, you will discover leaves with discolorations or damages which can be removed to maintain the overall quality of the powder. The leaves should be washed in clean water or an extremely weak solution of bleach for eliminating dirt and germs.
- Drying Moringa Leaves
Choose the area for drying the leaves with care. The place should be dark as light can destroy the nutrients in the leaves. The area should be protected against pests and dust to avoid contamination. Avoid a moist area as it will promote the growth of mold. Use dehydrators, fans or ovens for drying if the weather is humid.
You can hang the leaves but you should not remove the stems in that case. You can cover the leaves with a thin cloth to protect them from dust. You will know that the leaves are dry for the next phase when they turn brittle and you need to exert little effort for crushing them.
- Grinding Moringa Leaves
Once the leaves are dry, you can crush them into powder easily through the use of mortar and pestle. You can even use a hand crank machine to grind the leaves into a powder if you are processing a lot of moringa leaves. You can even transform the leaves into powder by rubbing the leaves on a fine screen. Run the powder you have made through a sieve to remove any stems or large particles that have remained.
How to Store Powdered Moringa Leaves
After you have made the leaf powder, you should store it in an airtight container. Keep the containers in a cool and dry location. Avoid light as well. Light, humidity and heat can destroy the powder and the nutrients in them. The leaf powder can have a long shelf life for around six months if you store it in the proper manner.