Moringa is a great supplement that we've talked about quite a bit. One thing we haven't talked about to date, though, is the expiration date of the supplement.
Does moringa expire? How long does it stay fresh? Does it lose its potency over time?
We're here to answer all these questions. If you have a question we haven't covered below, feel free to ask it in the comments and we'll answer you there.
Does Moringa Expire?
Moringa is a plant. Everything organic can expire given enough time. Moringa is no different; it can expire the same way any other supplement made out of plant materials can expire.
In most preparations, the nutritional value of moringa can last a very long time before it starts to expire. As with most materials, how long it lasts depends on the preparation and how it is stored. Fresh moringa leaves will wilt and rot very quickly just like any kind of produce, whereas dried moringa powder can last years before it begins to lose potency.
Different preparations of moringa will last for different amounts of time, depending on how they're stored. There are a handful of different ways moringa is processed and sold. In general, you'll want to check the label on the product you're purchasing for accurate expiration information.
How Long Does Fresh Moringa Last?
There are 13 different species of moringa. The most popular is the Moringa Oleifera tree, which is what most modern moringa supplements are made out of. It's a fast-growing tree native to the tropic and sub-tropic areas of the world. Various parts of the tree can be harvested for use and consumption, including the leaves, seeds, and flowers.
The majority of what we get in the west is moringa leaves. You can sometimes find these available as fresh leaves in specialty stores. Occasionally, you may also be able to find other parts of the tree available for sale. Most of the time, however, what you find in stores is preserved or dried preparations of moringa. We'll get to those in a moment.
It's also possible to grow a moringa tree. Moringa likes hotter areas, where the temperature tends to range between 77 and 95 F. It likes some level of annual rainfall, though it is also drought-tolerant. The tree itself can grow up to 15 feet a year and can reach a height of 50 feet during its lifespan. Most cultivated moringa is harvested aggressively throughout the year to prevent it from getting unsustainably large.
Fresh moringa is a vegetable. The flowers wilt within a day or two of being plucked. The leaves are similar to something like lettuce or spinach; they wilt quickly and can rot if left in a moist, warm place. It's best to eat them within a few weeks of harvesting them (or else find a way to preserve them for later). Seeds last longer, but are still best when dried.
Moringa leaves should be stored the same way you would store any other vegetable you want to consume later; either in a fridge or frozen for longer-term storage. You can also dry the leaves and crumble them into powder, which we'll talk about later.
Moringa seeds, when stored, are not generally fit for consumption; rather, stored seeds should be used to plant new moringa plants. The seeds should not be refrigerated or frozen. As a tropical plant, this will kill them. Instead, store them in a dry place at room temperature, out of the sun. Moisture may make them sprout, which ruins their viability for later planting.
Seed pods are edible similarly to green beans when they're harvested young, but if they've matured, the seeds are too hard to realistically consume. It's better to use them for planting. Young pods can be treated the same as green beans; harvested and eaten raw, cooked, or blanched and frozen to eat later.
When stored in the freezer, moringa can potentially last indefinitely. You want to make sure they're stored in an air-tight and moisture-free way, like with a vacuum sealer, to get the most longevity out of them. The primary risk is that they'll end up freezer-burned or covered in ice, which makes it unpleasant to thaw and eat them. Additionally, the leaves will lose their pleasant green color and may turn a much darker green when thawed. They aren't any less potent, but they may be less palatable in this state.
How Long Does Moringa Juice Last?
Moringa juice can be found in two different forms. One form is a fresh vegetable juice; you simply harvest, wash, and juice the leaves of the moringa plant. This leaves you with a thick, green juice that has a strong vegetal taste on its own, and can be used as an additive in other smoothies or shakes.
This form of juice is not very easy to preserve or to judge the expiration date. You can juice a bunch of leaves, and the juice is best consumed at the time you juice them. The longer it sits, the more it will take on other flavors, and the less beneficial it will be to drink.
You can, of course, preserve fresh-juiced moringa by freezing it. Freezing cubes of fresh moringa juice is one of our favorite ways to kick-start a green smoothie. Simply juice the moringa, then freeze the juice in cubes. Later, when you want a smoothie, follow any of the normal smoothie recipes you might like. Instead of adding ice cubes, however, add a cube or two of moringa juice instead.
When frozen, moringa juice can last a long time, and has the same usual risks as anything frozen in the freezer. Minor thaw cycles can cause some of the moringa to thaw and lose potency, turn dark, or get sticky. You can also freeze the moringa, then package the cubes in an air-tight container to further protect them.
The other form of moringa juice is the kind you often find on store shelves like ours. This is similar to many juice drinks you find on health food store shelves. It's primarily water, with a range of additives to give it additional flavors (like cranberry, elderberry, and mangosteen), as well as other healthy additives like vitamins and minerals.
This kind of juice should always be stored in the fridge. You can freeze it, since it's mostly water, and use it as the base for a smoothie as well. You should avoid storing it at room temperature, as there's always the possibility that it could ferment or otherwise go bad. In general, you want to keep it chilled, and away from direct light.
When sealed, moringa juice like this can last for a year or so, though you may see variations depending on the batch. When opened, it should be consumed within a month or two, though it may be good for a few weeks. As usual, follow the instructions on the label, looking for any relevant expiration date.
This also depends on whether you're getting the juice as a beverage preparation or as a concentrate. The concentrate can last longer when stored properly, which is beneficial because you won't be consuming it as fast. Still, consider it to lose potency after a couple of months at most.
How Long Does Moringa Powder Last?
Moringa leaves are often dried and ground up into a powder, and that powder is what you often find in packets on store shelves in the west. While you can get juice, the powder is often just as beneficial, while being more versatile to use in recipes or as a supplement.
The leaves of the moringa tree can be harvested at any point once the tree is established, and it will grow more when the existing leaves are harvested. Because of how fast-growing the tree is, harvests can happen up to nine times per year.
If you're harvesting yourself, you want to pull the leaves off of the stems and discard the stems. Stems, as well as leaves that have brown or black spots on them or are otherwise damaged, can be used as compost or as animal feed. Before drying the leaves, they should be washed in either water or a very diluted bleach solution to remove dirt, germs, bugs, and spores that may have settled on the leaves.
To dry leaves, you want a warm place away from direct sunlight, protected from dust, and secure from pests. A dehydration system or large oven can also be used, but bulk drying is usually done more naturally. It's best to dry the leaves when it's not humid, as humidity can make it more difficult and the leaves can rot or mold.
Once the leaves are dry and crumble when touched, they are ready to be ground. Dry leaves can be ground into powder using a burr mill, a mortar and pestle, or by rubbing them against a fine screen. The powder is then sifted to remove any larger bits, stems, and other stuff from the pure powder.
Moringa powder should be stored in a cool, dry space away from humidity and light. Light can destroy nutrients in the powder, and humidity can make it mildew or mold. When stored properly, the powder can last for two or more years. Most commercial packets of powder you find will have a two-year expiration range, but they can last longer; that's simply the time when the powder starts losing potency.
Always double-check your powder for signs of mold or mildew before using it. Make sure to store it in an air-tight container whenever possible to avoid letting moisture in.
How Long Do Moringa Capsules Last?
Moringa capsules can be purchased from health food stores, or they can be made by hand. You can purchase empty capsules in bulk and fill them yourself if you want to put in the time to do it. It typically costs less than $10 for 1,000 capsules, though that depends on part on the size you want.
Capsules are made of gelatin, and while they are resilient, they have their downsides as well. Capsules, when exposed to humidity and warmth, can melt and stick together. Like most forms of moringa, you want to store the filled capsules in a cool, dry place. Keep in mind that capsules are also not sterile; your moringa powder still runs the risk of mold or mildew if they're kept exposed too long.
Generally, capsules will last as long as the capsules themselves last. If filled and stored properly, moringa capsules can last up to two years before they lose potency. If stored improperly, they might last a year or less.
Moringa seeds are not generally edible once they have matured; it's the immature seed pods that are used as a food source. Seeds can be stored in a dry place more or less at room temperature and can remain viable for years. Consider that a large harvest of seeds will see some seeds lose viability every year, but there are examples of people planting seeds that are several years old and successfully growing a moringa tree out of them.
Seed pods, of course, should be treated just like any other fresh vegetable.
If you're interested in moringa, we have several other resources you can read. You can learn about the different forms of moringa you can take, and you can read about the health benefits of moringa to see what all the fuss is about. We have recommendations for how often you should take moringa as well. Plus, if you've found that you're not much of a fan of the taste of moringa, we have ideas for what you can use to mix into it.
Do you have any additional questions about moringa? The leaves, the juice, the concentrate, the powder; they're all beneficial to you, so we're happy to answer any questions you might have. Simply leave a question in the comments and we'll see what we can do to help you out!