Malunggay is popularly known for its food use. It is commonly grown as hedges of homes or just as a backyard tree, which is a source of foliage and fresh fruits for household viand. Most of us recognize this plant as a vegetable tree whose leaves are nutritious because they are green in color and rich in dietary fiber.
Lately, we have learned that malunggay can be processed to become tea as a biofortification agent. Fortification is a process by which a food is enriched by adding materials that enhances the nutritional properties of a food. Hence, we now see noodles fortified with squash, carrot, malunggay, amaranth (saluyut) and other vegetables. Pastries, cookies, and many baked food preparations are now enriched with malunggay.
Basic to processing is a good raw material. A raw material should possess the desired quality for food preparation. In the same way the material should also be processed correctly. With this in mind, the following should be noted in processing malunggay foliage for food preparations.
A. Fresh foliage. The fresh foliage should be sourced from plants which have not been sprayed with chemical pesticides. However, if the plants have been treated with synthetic pesticides, a margin of two weeks from the last spray would be acceptable.
The leaves should also be taken from the next top three leaves from the apical bud or youngest leaf. The youngest leaves are the young growing shoots at the tip of a branch.
B. Post-harvest. When the leaves or foliage have been harvested, it is recommended to bring the materials in the place where it is to be air-dried. Air drying is recommended when the material is to be stored for a time prior to its use. In the same way, if juice is to be stored for a time prior to its use. then the foliage has to be processed immediately within the next fifteen minutes.
If the juice of the leaves is the desired product, the harvested foliage has also to be processed immediately. A household or kitchen food processor or blender can be used to extract the juice from leaves. A one is to one ratio of leaves and water is recommended. Example, blend a cup of leaves in a cup of water. The juice can be collected by passing through the extract solution in very fine sieve or clean cloth.
C. Storage. The collected leaflets can be stored in plastic bags, bottles or canisters, but ensure that the containers to be used are dry and clean. Take note also that the containers are to be sealed tightly. These air-dried leaflets can be stored for at least two months only. However, pan-roasted leaflets or powder can be stored up to six months or more. The juice of leaves is to be used immediately. It can, however, be stored inside a refrigerator. The juice can be stored by placing it a clean jar or bottle and kept in a refrigerator for no more than five days. If the juice is to be frozen or kept in a freezer, the stored juice can stay there for at least one month.
One of the major health problems that the Department of Education addresses is malnutrition among school children.
According to the department’s statistical record SY 2007-08, 21% of the elementary pupils and 16% of the secondary students in the country are malnourished, and this affects significantly the attainment of high academic achievement.
It is on this that the Department of Education through the Health and Nutrition Center, implements the School Nutrition Program which encompasses nutrition education, supplementary feeding, food subsidy to school children and their families, capability building, food production to promote food sufficiency and nutrition advocacy which are all linked to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Accelerated Hunger Mitigation Program.
The latest of these DepEd Initiatives was the launching of the Gulayan sa Paaralan. This program emphasizes the utilization of the school garden as source of vegetables for school feeding and planting of at least 50 malunggay trees in the schools. Alongside with the project, the DepEd HNC developed recipes using malunggay for school feeding. The developed recipes will be used as a guide by the home economics teachers and school canteen managers in the feeding program.
Why is the maximum utilization of recipes using malunggay encouraged? Malunggay is one of the most nutritious plants ever discovered by researchers to date. According to the Biotechnology Program Office of the Department of Agriculture, malunggay has been found by biochemists and molecular anthropologists to be rich in vitamins C and A, iron and high-density lipoprotein or good cholesterol.
Malunggay leaves are loaded with nutrients. Gram for gram, malunggay leaves also contain two times the protein of milk. Likewise, it contains three times the potassium in bananas and four times the vitamin A in carrots. Nutritionists claim that an ounce of malunggay has the same vitamin C content as seven oranges. Malunggay also strengthens the immune system for it also contains medical properties.
Standardized Recipes Using Malunggay for School Feeding Program
Health and Nutrition is integral to the total development of the child: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Studies showed that undernourished children perform poorly in class. Ideally, health and education should have a symbiotic relationship, if only to get the full benefit of education.
DepED is seeking to attain the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) No. 1, Target No. 2 which will eradicate poverty and hunger, and reduce malnutrition to 50% by the year 2015. The DepED is in full agreement with the MDG especially if it concerns improving the quality of basic education.
The Development and Standardization of Recipes Using Malunggay is a breakthrough in School Nutrition Program. It simply involves the creative transformation of school garden yields into nutrient-rich meals and drinks for supplemental feeding purposes.
With the school and community working as one, we believe the improvements in the learners’ nutritional health, school attendance, class participation and completion will eventually achieved.
I commend DepED’s Health and Nutrition Center, the regional nutritionist-dietitians, the contributors, writers and consultants in coming up with this pioneering recipe book.
JESLI A. LAPUS
The magnitude of malnutrition among public elementary and secondary schools is alarming. Reports from the field revealed a fluctuating trend on the prevalence rate of undernutrition. We are aware that poor nutrition affects the academic performance of learners.
The Development of a Recipe Book using Malunggay is indeed another milestone in the School Nutrition Program. It is very timely and relevant that we focus on providing all comprehensive health and nutrition package to food poor areas of the country and to identify Low Performing Schools in order to turn-around the academic performance of the schools. This book is useful to home economics teachers, canteen managers, feeding coordinators and parents in the preparation of recipes using malunggay for supplementary feeding in schools and in their homes.
I wish to express my sincerest gratitude to the Health and Nutrition Center for facilitating the development of a recipe book using malunggay. Likewise, my deepest thanks to all DepED nutritionist-dietitians for their dedication and commitment in the preparation of recipes, to the staff of FNRI for their technical assistance, and to the writers, contributors and consultants for their invaluable inputs to this endeavor.
Thelma G. Santos, CESO IV
In support to the Food for School Program and the “Gulayan sa Paaralan” project to sustain the school feeding of children with low cost but nutritious food, the Health and Nutrition Center of the Department of Education has embarked on the promotion of malunggay for supplementary feeding. No other than President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo expressed concern in the planting of malunggay for family consumption and supplementary feeding in school. Malunggay has recently been the interests in many researches as published in the national dailies due to its nutritional benefits and versatility as a plant hence it is called the “miracle vegetable”.
It is in this context that the Health and Nutrition Center developed and standardized recipes using malunggay for the school nutrition program. It has been proven that the school feeding program helps in promoting holistic development of the school children whereby providing the required nutrients necessary for growth and development. It also helps improve nutritional status, increase school attendance and better class participation.
This Recipe Book using malunggay is therefore designed to provide the schools with recipes for hot meals, desserts, snacks and drink concoction. All recipes in this book have been kitchen tested. Preparation of the dishes presented in the simplest manner to include household measures and estimated cost. Likewise, the nutritive value per serving is presented for easy reference.
It is hoped that the home economics teachers, health and nutrition workers will find this Recipe Book using malunggay interesting and useful. To the homemakers, this will also serve as a valuable guide in the preparation of the right menu that will provide the family members nutritious and delicious meals.
Thelma R. Navarree, M.D.
Health and Nutrition Center
DepEd Memorandum No. 234, s. 2008
PLANTING OF MALUNGGAY TREES IN SCHOOLS
Schools Division/City Superintendents
- Malunggay (Moringa Oleifera) is considered one of the world’s most useful and nutritious plants and are propagated for human food, livestock, medicine, dye and water treatment. Gram for gram, malunggay leaves contain 7 times the vitamin C found in oranges, 4 times the calcium and 2 times the protein found in milk, 4 times the vitamin A found in carrots and 3 times the potassium found in bananas. No less than the President and the Department of Agriculture advocate the planting of malunggay trees nationwide as an answer to hunger, poverty, and malnutrition.
- In support to the Food for School Program and the “Gulayan sa Paaralan” Project of the Accelerated Hunger Mitigation Program (AHMP) and, more importantly, to sustain in-school feeding of children with low-cost nutritious foods, school administrators should encourage the planting of malunggay trees in the schools and communities through integration in Science classes and school community outreach projects. These trees will become ready sources of ingredients for various malunggay-based recipes being developed and standardized by the Health and Nutrition Center (HNC), in close coordination with other government and nongovernment agencies involved in the promotion of malunggay as food commodity . The recipe book will be distributed and serve as guide to home economics teachers, canteen managers, and PTCA members in the preparation of nutritious foods for in-school feeding and for the families.
- Regional directors are enjoined to lend full support to this initiative. Scientific researches likewise show that malunggay trees are sources of olea oil and biofuel and as such, these trees have the potential of becoming an alternative source of income for the schools in the future.
- Pursuant to agreements between DepED and the Department of Agriculture on this concern, close collaboration shall be made with the regional and provincial offices of the Bureau of Plant Industry for their technical assistance to plant propagation, processing of malunggay leaves and fruits for food, and for the provision of seeds/seedlings/stem cuttings to the schools.
- School health personnel are instructed to initiate an information campaign on the benefits of malunggay and to assist the schools in their effort to plant malunggay trees and utilize its leaves in their areas of responsibility.
JESLI A. LAPUS