Tuesday, September 27, 2016

"Pukpuklo" - Spooky Sea Vegetable

Dr Abe V Rotor

Old folk along the Ilocos coast call it pukpuklo, this sponge-like green sea vegetable.
It is served fresh.  Add sliced tomato, onion and a dash of salt. Or simply wash and eat it with the fingers -  which we, kids in our time along Nagtupakan* estuary would relish. What with medium rare broiled (barbakua) fish and jumping salad (live small shrimps) we caught, in situ picnic style! 

A country lass gleefully demonstrates how to eat pukpuklo. 

Actually it is the ambiance that makes eating wonderfully exciting and memorable cum fresh air, clean water, above all, the freedom and adventure of boyhood. 

Years took us kids away for our studies, and later, careers and jobs, and to raise our own families. For whatever reason, I asked if there is any pukpuklo being sold in the city market. 

There it was proudly rising like hill on a bila-o (circular bamboo basket) among local vegetables in a talipapa (flea market) in Novaliches, QC.  

To me it was turning back the hands of time. On the dining table that weekend I gave a "lecture" about the pukpuklo.  It was a rare, hearty meal for the whole family.  

Say, "Pukpuklo,"  Marchus.  My two-year old grandson uttered. "...lo." ~

 Close-up of pukpuklo (Ilk), Codium edule, Order Codiales, Division Chlorophyta. Edule in Latin means edible. Note watery sponge-like dichotomous branching structure. It is this species that is now sold commercially, like lato (Caulepa racemosa), a more popular green seaweed.    

Commonly called dead man's fingers, Codium fragile, known commonly as green sea fingers, dead man's fingers, felty fingers, forked felt-alga, stag seaweed, sponge seaweed, green sponge, green fleece, and oyster thief, is a species of seaweed in the family Codiaceae. It originates in the Pacific Ocean near Japan and has become an invasive species on the coasts of the Northern Atlantic Ocean. 

So far Codium fragilis and any of its subspecies do not pose any problem in the Philippines. (Author's note.)  

Spooky dead man's fingers gave the name of some Codium species  (Wikipedia)

This siphonous green alga is dark green in color. It appears as a fuzzy patch of tubular fingers. These formations hang down from rocks during low tide, hence the nickname "dead man's fingers" The "fingers" are branches up to a centimeter wide and sometimes over 30 centimeters long.

Codium fragile occurs in the low intertidal zone, and subtidal on high-energy beaches. It has no asexual (sporophyte) stage, and male and female gametes are both produced on separate plants. Codium fragile, through the years, underwent speciation leading to the formation of three subspecies, namely Codium fragile subsp. atlanticum, 
Codium fragile subsp. tomentosoides and Codium fragile subsp. scandinavicum.  

Seaweeds as a Human Diet:

An Emerging Trend in the New Millennium

P.V. ~66a RUO; vaibbav A. Mantri, K. Ganesan an6 K SHT~S~ KHW~ Marine Algae and Marine Environment Discipline, Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institu te (CSIR), Gijubhai Badheka Marg, Bhavnagar - 364 002, Gujarat, INDIA (Internet) 

In the Far East and Pacific, there has been a long tradition of consuming seaweeds as sea vegetables, while in Western countries the principaI use of seaweeds has been as source of phycocolloids having their applications, some times in food preparations. Edible seaweeds have played a significant role in economy of some Nations such as Japan, Korea and China. In world market, there are 13 algae authorized as vegetable and condiments, although 152 seaweed species have been utilized for food preparations. The nutritive value of the seaweeds is mainly due to the presence of rich protein, amino acids, minerals, dietary fibers and antioxidants. The protein content in seaweeds varies from 3 to 47 per cent of dry wt. Aspartic and glutamic acid constitute large part of the amino acid fraction in the seaweed. Mineral content (including macro and micro nutrients) recorded in seaweeds is found in the range of 8 to 40 per cent. In addition, seaweeds constitute an interesting source of dietary fibers and antioxidant compounds with health protective effects. This paper is an overview of edible seaweeds and their nutritional values. ~
 Top, clockwise: Pophyra (gamet), Gracillaria (guraman Ilk), ar-arusip Ilk 
or lato (Caulerpa), and  Eucheuma cottonii, 

* Nagtupakan is the estuarine of Bantaoay River in San Vicente, west of Vigan City, province of Ilocos Sur, site of the infamous Basi Revilt of 1808 

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