Backyard vegetable gardens are popular in many parts of the world. It’s more practical than going to the nearest market, it saves money, and it’s also healthier. You can be sure that your veggies are chemical-free when you grow them yourself.
Let’s have a look at some of the most frequent vegetables in the Philippines.
Popular Philippines Vegetables
Ampalaya has bitter taste, also known as bitter melon, is a vegetable that is popular in the Philippines. The ridged green fruit is not only edible, but so are the leaves (the leaves are frequently made into an immunity-boosting tea). Ampalaya is a popular Filipino fruit that, when consumed alone, appears similar to a tangerine. It is frequently sold in packs and eaten with mung beans or included in scrambled eggs. It’s also used in two Ilocano dishes: pinakbet and dinengdeng.
Bottle gourd, also known as upo, is a vine-based vegetable that is becoming increasingly popular. Choose young fruit to ensure the skin is smooth and light green in color. Upo may be prepared with misua noodles or used in place of green papaya in tinola.
It takes about six months for upo to mature on the vine, at which time it becomes completely green and is no longer edible. It can now be collected and used as a water dipper or bottle once it has fully developed on the vine.
Chayote, locally known as sayote, is a pear-shaped fruit that grows on a vine. It’s commonly used in Filipino cuisine to make tinola. Aside from the fruit, the leaves and young stems are also edible. The leaves and shoots can be cooked in the same way as sinigang and pinakbet along with green beans.
In our backyard garden, eggplant, or talong, has always had a place. I used to adore many breakfast eggplant omelets when I was younger. Eggplants can be grilled, fried, or cooked in combination with other veggies in many Filipino stews.
Amaranth, commonly known as red spinach, is a popular vegetable in the Ilocos region. This vegetable is also referred to as red spinach since the seedlings are crimson in hue—though this fades to green with age.
Kalunay is simple to prepare and pairs well with almost every Filipino dish. It can be eaten steamed or stir-fried with mung beans or sardines. It may also be used in salads. People sometimes eat the roots as well.
Note: Amaranthus spinosus (kulitis) is a related but distinct cultivar. This variety features spikes on the flowers, leaves, and stems, which may add an extra step to your cooking if you use it.
The hyacinth bean, which is another popular garden resident, can be found climbing up trellises or whatever else it can find to grasp. When I was a kid, I used to scale our nipa hut in order to gather hyacinth beans for my mother. I’ve always found this to be a fun activity, but I do recall seeing worms on the plant once. I’ve always been afraid of worms, so that memory is still vivid in my head!
The inner beans may also be eaten, as well as the young leaves and young pods, after the rough edges have been trimmed. Even the blooms are edible, according to what I’ve heard. When the pods mature, the beans must be removed and the pods eliminated.
Another important ingredient in the Ilocano dish denengdeng, which is a combination of vegetables seasoned with fermented fish, is jute mallow, or saluyot. This plant’s leaves are consumed, and they’re one of the key components in the Ilocano dish denengdeng.
Jute mallow is a good source of calcium, iron, protein, and beta-carotene.
When I view the photo above, I can almost sense the lemongrass fragrance. It was one of my father’s favorites in our backyard.
In Filipino cooking, lemongrass is used fairly frequently. It’s used in chicken tinola and a variety of seafood dishes (such as milkfish and tilapia). Personally, I make sure to have lemongrass on hand when I prepare arroz caldo, or rice porridge.
Patani is an annual climbing vine with green, ovate leaves with pointed tips. The plant produces white clusters of blooms that develop into green, oblong lima bean pods. The young leaves and pods are all edible. Patani beans, which come in white and dark varieties, are said to be the finest. Because of the amount of potentially toxic phaseolunatin they contain, darker-colored beans should be boiled.
Patani seeds, when cooked, are a delicious addition to Filipino soups like sinigang. The seeds are high in fiber, magnesium, and folate.
Long beans are another backyard vegetable that I adore, and it’s no surprise that this is another backyard garden favorite. Long beans go great with any Filipino meal, such as nilaga or beef or pork stew. Long beans are also a fantastic choice for the sour dish sinigang, which can be prepared from either meat or fish. Long beans can also be cooked and eaten steamed, and they’re frequently served with a popular Filipino dipping sauce known as sawsawan when consumed this way. They can also be prepared with calamansi, soy sauce, and a sprinkle of salt, or a combination of chopped tomatoes and chives with either soy sauce or fish sauce.
Long beans are also known by the names asparagus beans, snake beans, and long podded-cowpeas.
The Moringa tree, sometimes known as drumstick tree or horseradish tree, is also known as malunggay in the Philippines. The leaves and young pods of this plant are consumed throughout the Philippines.
In addition to the leaves and pods, moringa has tripinnate leaves, which can be cooked in soups such as tinola (chicken soup–based dish) and sinigang. They may also be prepared with shredded smoked fish and squash in coconut milk.
Okra is another veggie that may be found in Filipino vegetable garden and markets. While Okra has a slimy texture, many Filipino still love cooking okra. Some people remove the sliminess from their okra by frying it. It’s an element of Ilocano pinakbet dish Pinakbet).
Thinly sliced sponge gourd with sardines and misua is one of my favorites. It also complements horseradish and other veggies in the Ilocano dish dinedengdeng.
The young sponge gourd is best; as it matures, it becomes hard and spongy, making it unsuitable for consumption. So what can we do with grown-up sponge gourds? They are transformed into sponges that may be found in our kitchens and bathrooms.
Squash, locally known as kalabasa, is another popular vegetable in the Philippines. It’s a vine or trellis-grown squash that may be eaten both raw and cooked. Flowers and shoots are also edible in addition to the fruit. The Ilocano people, for example, use the young leaves in pakbet (pinakbet) and dinengdeng. They may also be cooked with meat or smoked fish and coconut milk (guinataan).
The flowers and pods of a tropical legume plant are all edible, including the wings, which can be eaten raw. The plants’ pods, on the other hand, are more commonly seen in marketplaces.
Winged beans (also known as goa beans) are a popular in Filipino vegetable dishes. The Philippine name for these is sigarilyas, and they’re commonly known as winged beans in the United States. Mature winged beans are difficult to chew, so pods should be harvested when they are no longer than six inches long. It can be used in vegetable soup.
Sweet potato is also cultivated for its young shoots and leaves, which are used as a vegetable.
Sweet potato is a popular vegetable in backyard gardens. Leaves are frequently used in recipes like sinigang (a fermented fish dish) and nilaga (a soup dish). A delicious supper may be prepared by steaming and seasoning it with fermented fish, as well as grilled or fried fish.