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Why Moringa is My Favorite

Moringa is known as the miracle tree

Moringa is known as the Miracle Tree

Moringa has been an Asian staple for centuries, and it recently has created quite a buzz in the health food scene. For those of you not in the tropics then powdered moringa oleifera is how you are going to find it. For those of us who are lucky enough to grow it, we have a lot more options.  

Moringa is a fast-growing and drought-tolerant tree, and the whole plant can be utilized. Moringa leaves can be eaten fresh, dried, or cooked, moringa seeds are obtained from the pods of the tree they can be steamed, boiled or roasted. The flowers make a nice tea and can be added to a salad or fried as a treat. The bark and roots have high antibiotic properties but can be dangerous if used incorrectly. 

Moringa flowers
Moringa flowers are considered a delicacy

Moringa leaves are full of vitamins and minerals such as:

  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B-6 & C
  • Folate
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium

It also contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a source of complete protein. Very impressive!

How to harvest

Don’t just pluck off the leaves, its best to harvest the whole branch with a machete. If you just harvest the leaves your tree will be tall and thin, ideally the moringa should be short and bushy.  The branch cutting can be rooted and will become another tree.

I like using moringa in Soups and stir fry’s and that involves laboriously plucking the leaves from the stems. A quick and delicious option is creating a moringa pesto, then all the smaller stems are blended. My family loves it and it makes me feel full power!

Malunggay Pesto 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups moringa 
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 clove garlic
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 cup walnuts and pumpkin seeds,

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Pluck leaves off moringa branch and rinse with boiled water. I feel this takes some of the “spice” taste from the leaves. (Sometimes I throw a couple of leaves of Kale or Collards in.)
  • Pulse the moringa, olive oil, salt, garlic, and lemon juice in a food processor or blender until smooth.
  • Add the walnuts/ pumpkin seeds and pulse until ground to desired consistency.
  • Serve with fried Ulu, cucumber slices, salads, chips or whatever strikes your fancy. 
  • This freezes well and I normally double the recipe so I can stash some in the deep cooler.
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The Benefits of Soursop Tea

Health Benefits of Soursop leaf tea

Can Soursop really treat Cancer?

Soursop fruit

Soursop leaf tea or Graviola tea has gained a lot of attention over the last few years. Soursop is a tropical tree that produces a delicious prickly green fruit with white custard-like flesh. The taste is a combination of sweet pineapple, banana with hints of a strawberry.

Latin American tribal cultures have been using all parts of the Graviola tree as medicine for centuries.

Soursop has been found to be anti-bacterial, anti-cancerous, anti-seizure, anti-fungal, and anti-tumorous. It may lower blood pressure, help treat insomnia as well as regulate diabetes and reduce fever.

Although no clinical human studies have been done, test tube and animal experiments have shown the use of soursop leaves to slow cancer growth. The research suggests it may have value in fighting lung, breast, prostate, skin, pancreas and liver cancers. Studies have also shown wound-healing, painkilling, and antioxidant effects.

Suggested use:

Add 6-8 leaves in flash boiled 1 liter of water, and let it rest for 5-10 minutes, sweeten with honey or add lemon if desired. Serve hot or cold. 

Use Soursop leaves in moderation! Repeated use of Graviola may cause liver and kidney toxicity and the side effects of soursop may include movement disorders and similar to Parkinson’s disease.

So enjoy Soursop tea to maintain immune system function, support healthy cell function and to relax.

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Taste of the Farmers Markets

Famers markets in pahoa hawaii

Shopping at the farmers market is one of the best ways to keep it fresh. The food from the farmer’s market is seasonal, delicious and helps you to reconnect with the natural cycle of nature. Soon you’ll discover which season your favorite fruits are ripe. (Durians are abundant in winter!) 

Getting your produce, fruits, and other products from the farmers market has some great perks like:

  • Keeping the carbon footprint low. Hawaii is the most remote island in the world! Lucky for us it’s amazingly fertile, and supporting our local farmers is just the incentive we need to get the island more sustainable. 
  • Rich flavor and higher nutrition. Picking the fruit when it’s ripe is on a different level from early picking. Nutrients are higher when the fruit has been allowed to mature naturally. 
  •  Buy local! Shopping at the farmers has great benefits for the community. It’s also more cost-efficient as the price of overhead and middlemen are bypassed.  

Here are the weekly not to be missed markets in Puna:

Uncle Robert’s Awa Bar and Farmers Market

 Wednesday night it’s happening in lower Puna. Uncle Roberts has that laid back island style thing going on. Expect lots of prepared food, produce, crafts, art, and live music. Featuring the Kalapana ‘Awa Band.

Uncle Roberts also hosts a small Saturday morning market. I recommend getting there early, produce can sell out fast.

12-5038 Kapoho Beach Rd, Pāhoa, HI. Wednesday 5 p.m. -10 p.m. Saturday 8 a.m. -12p.m.

Maku’u Farmer’s Market

This large open-aired market is just north of Pahoa town. Lots of Produce, local arts, and crafts, clothing, plants, hot food as well as an area with some second-hand merch vendors.

15-2131 Keaau-Pahoa Rd, Pāhoa, HI. Sunday 8a.m. -2 p.m.

Nanawale longhouse

This is the market for you if you want your produce without any hoopla. A quiet market in the back of Nanawale neighborhood.

14-855 Kehau Rd, Pāhoa, HI. Sunday 7 a.m.-2 p.m.

The Hilo Farmers Market 

Hilo is out of Puna but worth the 30 min drive. Twice-weekly on Wednesday and Saturday 6 a.m. -4 p.m. This market has over 200 vendors selling produce, artisanal foods and crafts. Find it on the corner of Kamehameha Ave & Mamo St, Hilo, Hawaii.

The Localvore Store.

Meet your seasonal fruit fix any day of theweek at the Localvore. This amazing shop has Puna roots, read their story here. Find the best Big Island has to offer like Volcano grown cabbages, Hilo cocoa, mac nuts, coffee, sunscreen and more from the Big Island. Find it on the bayfront at 60 Kamehameha ave Hilo.

Which is your favorite market and why? Leave a comment, subscribe and share!