Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Don't underestimate the lowly Kamote

Sweet potato (Ipomea batatas), Family Convolvulaceae

Abe V Rotor


In the province, whenever we failed to recite in class our teacher in the elementary would matter of fact, say, “Go home and plant kamote.” We also loved to sing or recite, hilariously that is, a verse associated with this humble plant. Years after, I realized how unfair it is to treat this important crop, which is a staple food of millions of people and a major animal feed in many parts of the world. The verse/song goes like this.

“Kamote is a musical root;
The more you eat, the more you puut…
The more you putt…, the better you feel,
So eat kamote every meal.”

In defense of kamote, the tuber or root is rich in Phosphorus (P2O5, 0.15%), Calcium (CaO, 0.13%), and Iron (Fe2O3, 0.02%) in addition to carbohydrate (8.41%) and protein (1.96 %). These alleged gas-forming substances are also found in other root crops like cassava and taro (gabi), but in lesser quantities. It is advisable to cook kamote very well, and that one should take it moderately. By the way, kamote tops contains an appreciable amount of hydrocyanic acid similar to that in cassava. Thus, when cooking it, it is advisable to bring it to boiling and allow the compound to escape as cyanogas by removing the pot cover.

Some uses and preparations of kamote:
  • As staple food
  • Kamote cake
  • Boiled kamote
  • Kamote Chips
  • Kamote Flour
  • Kamote Cue
  • Kamote Tops as vegetable
  • Buridibod (soup thickener)
  • Rich source of vitamins and minerals
  • Food extender/substitute
  • Fermented into alcohol
  • Forage crop
  • Cover crop for weed and erosion control
Lastly, but not the least, kamote is a famine food or hunger crop - where conventional food crops are not available.

Living with Nature 3, AVR

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