Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Folk Wisdom for Kids: Tips when buying fruits, fish, and processed food (Tenth of a Series)

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) 
with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 Evening Class, Monday to Friday

1. Tips when buying fruits, a short list.

What part of a fruit is the best?  The best part of papaya is the lower half; it is more fleshy, sweeter and deeper in color.  In the case of pineapple it is the opposite – the upper half is superior. Here is a cursory list to guide buyers and consumers.
·         Lansones – Extra large fruits have big seeds, and are not in any way sweeter than the rest in the bunch. Choose the medium size, quite elongated, and bright yellow in color.
·         Cucumber – Choose the size for pickling or about.  As the fruit matures it loses its firm cartilaginous consistency and the seeds have already matured.  Harvest okra, cowpea, patola, batao and string beans when still succulent, other wise they become fibrous. 
·         Squash – Tough to the fingernail, does not exude sap.  The fruit is mature and seasoned, and has glutinous (malagkit) consistency.
Typical fruit stands on the roadside.

Ampalaya – Break the tip of the stem and look for the yellowish to orange coloration at the center. Red means the fruit is over mature.  
Watermelon  Stripes are distinct and widespread. The cut stem should be green. Tap the fruit with the forefinger.  If the sound is deep and dull, the fruit is ripe. Better still, ask the seller to make a triangular cut through the fruit.  
Banana – The upper fruits in the bunch are bigger, sweeter and the first to ripen.·            Caimito – Fruits becomes shiny when it is about to ripen. This is also true in avocado (Persea Americana)  and tiesa (Locuma nervosa).
·         Chico – Lightly scrape the skin of the fruit with your fingernail. If underneath is green it is not yet ready for harvesting. This is also a guide in buying unripe chico.
·         Sugar apple or atis (Anona squamosa) – Fruit well expanded, canals are distinct, color turns pale green.   
 ·         Sugarcane for chewing – Get the internodes closest to the base; they are sweeter than those near the top.
2. Tips when buying fish, a short list. 
·         Bangus – Choose one with fat belly, one-kilo size is best.  If the lower tail fin is shorter than the upper one, it is the famous Bonoan (Dagupan) bangus. 
·         Tilapia – Get those with thick and supple body. Three pieces to a kilo is best. 
·         Catfish (hito) – Always buy the fish live.  Yellowish belly means it is fat.
·         Mudfish or snakehead (dalag) – Always buy it live.  Yellow to bright orange belly means it is fat, and the female may be carrying eggs.
·         Carp – Sometimes called Imelda, the head is fat and fleshy. When buying the chopped fish, get the head and middle part.
·         Crab (Alimango) – Female crabs even if they are more expensive make the best buy. They have 
     more fat (aligi) especially during New Moon than the males. This is true with talangka or freshwater crabs, shrimps, lobsters and crayfish.
·         Prawn – Freshly caught prawns are translucent. Reject if the head or cephalothorax is discolored, all the more if it is severed, and unpleasant odor detected.
·         Green mussels (tahong– Pry open and see if it is fatty. It must have a clean, fresh smell.  Reject if it emits even the slightest foul or oil odor. 
Ambulant fish vendor (Lagro Subd, QC); a variety of marine fish (Farmer's Market QC)

·         Marine fish – Dynamited fish invariably have eyes, abdomen, scale and flesh battered by the blast.  Report to nearest authority the presence of such fish.
·         Anchovies – It has a very short shelf life, and must be preserved in ice. Many people eat it raw (kilawin) when newly caught, with ginger, onion, and tomato. The best recipes are tamales (wrapped in banana leaves with ginger and salt), and torta (fried with egg). Anchovies are made into dilis and fishmeal.   

3. Tips when buying processed food products.
·         Bagoong – Genuine patis is clear, golden in color, and forms the top layer, while the bagoong occupies the rest of the bottle. If mixed or it forms a layer at the middle or at the bottom, the bagoong is unseasoned, or adulterated, or both.
·         Honeybee – It should not solidify into crusty sugar in the refrigerator.  If it does, it is diluted and adulterated with sugar.
·         Vegetable oil – A trace of rancidity is clear indication it is no longer fit for human consumption.   
·         Peanut butter – Caution: Usually broken and inferior peanut is ground into peanut butter; healthy seeds are sold a whole peanut. Thus, peanut butter contains higher levels of aflatoxin, a carcinogenic substance formed by Aspergillus flavus. ~   

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