Drumsticks are long, bean-like vegetables, sometimes 30 – 45 cm long, that grow on very tall trees in South India and some other states of India. They are incredibly healthy to eat, as are the leaves of the Drumstick trees. They are reminiscent of drumsticks ad have a hard, green outer shell. There is an art to eating this vegetable, and we share that below.
In India they are commonly referred to as Moringa Leaves, and each language will have its own name for them. In Bali/Indonesia they are called Daun Kelor.
Look for drumsticks with a smooth skin that is greenish in colour. Most drumsticks are bumpy, showing where the seeds are inside the tough exterior. It is best to choose drumsticks whose bumps are not too pronounced and not too close together. Also avoid drumsticks that seem too rigid and hard. Give it a slight twist – it should show some give, but not too much.
Drumsticks are best stored wrapped in paper in the crisper drawers of the fridge. They will keep for 3 or 4 days but are best consumed quickly.
Drumsticks can also be frozen. Cut them into lengths, 4 cm – 6 cm, and plunge into boiling water. Return to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Drain well and store in ziplock bags in the freezer.
Simply chop the drumsticks into convenient lengths according to the recipe. Most commonly this is around 4 cm – 6 cm. Remove any parts that are brown or dry. Simmer them until tender.
Browse our Drumstick recipes here.
How to Eat Drumsticks
There is definitely an art to eating drumstick pieces. The outer covering is too hard to eat, but inside is a wonderful, soft (almost jelly-like) pulp in which the edible seeds sit. The other skin is never eaten. The trick is to remove the inner pulp and seeds. To do so, pick the drumstick piece up with the fingers, and crush it a little with your teeth, scraping out the soft pulp with your teeth as you pull the drumstick out of your mouth with your fingers. The outer covering is mashed a little with the teeth to extract all flavour from it and then it is discarded.
The drumstick leaves are picked in large stems and the tiny leaves need to be removed. It does take some time and is best done watching TV or chatting to friends. Tiny stems are Ok but any larger must be removed.
One trick is to leave the leaves wrapped in paper in the fridge for a day. Most leaves will fall off, saving much effort.
The leaves must be washed very well, in at least 3 changes of water and often more. Drain in a colander and use as directed in the recipe.
Drumstick Leaves Recipes
Browse our Drumstick Leaf recipes here. Some of these might be suitable for use of Drumstick Leaves but another vegetable might have been used in the photo.