Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Please eat the flowers

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

Puso ng saging


Himbaba-o or Alokong


Flower vegetables are nutritious. They go well with many recipes - from salad to bulanglang.

Puso ng saging is high in tannin and it's good for diabetic patients. It can be an extender of expensive meat burgers. No kari-kari is without banana blossom. Pesang dalag is best with puso ng saging cut in chunks. Ginatang puso ng saging, anyone? When I was a kid, I love to eat the inner heart raw. It tastes like artichoke.

Squash flowers are high in carotin. It improves eyesight and prevents blindness. It is excellent with saluyot when cooking bulanglang or diningding. Add fresh mushroom. The best sahug when you are in the countryside is freshwater shrimp. If you have no problem with cholesterol, why not use as sahug bagnet (lechon kawali) from Vigan.

Alokong is a staminate or male flower which is gathered from the male tree. The female tree does not produce edible flowers. Because the tree is very tall, gatherers take the short cut of cutting the branches and take immature flowers and buds as well. Try buridibud by mashing kamote to thicken the soup. A unique recipe of Ilocanos is to combine alokong and malunggay pods in juvenile or succulent stage, and add broiled hito or bangos as sahug.

Katuray flower is blanched and served with tomato and a dash of salt. It is good for people who have elevated blood pressure. It is cooked the way alokong is prepared with kamote and sahug of fried or broiled bangos, hito or tilapia.

Another flower vegetable comes from madre de cacao or kakawate which blooms in summer. The flowers are our local counterpart of cherry blossom. Open the pot when it comes to a boil to reduce the characteristic bean taste.

Sampalok or tamarind flowers are gathered for sinigang. Malunggay flowers which include newly formed pods are cooked the same way as any bulanglang.

Cauliflower and broccoli are perhaps the most popular commercial vegetable flowers. They belong to Family Cruciferae. They grow on semi temperate and temperate countries, although they are grown in the tropics during the cool months. One disadvantage of Crucifers is that they are the most sprayed of all vegetables, and are likely to carry chemical residues hazardous to health. Cauliflower and broccoli are also among the most expensive vegetables. They are prepared in restaurants as chopsuey, dressing, soup, pickle and the like.

Other flower vegetables come from the following plants:
  • Okra
  • Spinach
  • Kutchai
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Daylily
  • Artichoke
  • Zucchini
  • Endive
  • Cucumber
  • Lettuce
  • Gumamela
  • Anis
Flowers are not only for decoration and offering. Other than their aesthetic value, they are delicious, nutritious and unique.

Please eat the flowers. ~

Living with Nature 3, AVR; acknowledgment, cauliflower photo (Wikipedia, Google)

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