Horseradish tree – edible wild plant – how to find, identify, prepare, and other uses for survival.
Horseradish or Drumstick tree (Moringa pterygosperma)
The edible Horseradish tree (also known as the moringa, benzolive tree, West Indian ben and drumstick tree) grows from 4.5 to 14 meters (15 to 46 feet) tall and is rather slender with drooping branches. Its leaves have a fernlike appearance. Its flowers and long, pendulous fruits grow on the ends of the branches. Its fruit (pod) is long, slender, and triangular and looks like a giant bean. Its 25- to 60 centimeter-long pods are triangular in cross section, with strong ribs. Its roots have a pungent odor.
Where to Find: This tree is found in the rain forests and semi-evergreen seasonal forests of the tropical regions. It prefers semiarid, tropical, and subtropical areas and is widespread in India, Southeast Asia, Africa,
and Central America. Look for it in abandoned fields and gardens and at the edges of forests.
Edible Parts: Many parts of the horseradish tree are edible. The leaves are edible raw or cooked, depending on their hardness, and are the most nutritious part of the plant containing a significant amount of vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin A as well as beta-carotene, magnesium, and protein. In some countries the leaves are dried and crushed into a powder and used in soups and sauces. Cut the young seedpods into short lengths and cook them like string beans or fry them (this will soften them up). You can get oil for frying by boiling the young fruits of palms and skimming the oil off the surface of the water. You can eat the flowers when cooked and are said to taste like mushrooms. You can chew fresh, young seedpods to eat the pulpy and soft seeds or roast them like nuts (they contain high levels of vitamin C). The roots may be ground as a substitute for seasoning similar to horseradish.