Vegetables In The Philippines

What are the vegetables grown in the Philippines?
What are the vegetables grown in the Philippines? | Source

Vegetables has always been a part of our garden and my mom loves vegetables and can't live without them. Growing up, I had seen mom and dad tend a garden and the fresh vegetables was enjoyed by all of us, some were also sold by mom in the market for extra money. And although there's some I didn't like very much, seeing them growing even in containers or pots reminds me of Summer and my childhood growing up in the farm.

When it comes to vegetables, I either see these favorite Filipino veges in Philippine stores or any Oriental stores. And I see this vegetables growing in the yards or climbing into trellis when I drive passed some houses, reminding me of a simple life back in the homeland in my childhood with my parents tending the vegetable garden where they grow squash, sweet yams, bitter melon, and gourds.

If they could only grow all the Filipino vegetables, I know they will as they love gardening. Here's a list of vegetables you would find growing in the Philippines.

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Twin chayote.Chayote shoots ready for cooking. Young leaves, tendrils and stems separated.
Twin chayote.
Twin chayote. | Source
Chayote shoots ready for cooking. Young leaves, tendrils and stems separated.
Chayote shoots ready for cooking. Young leaves, tendrils and stems separated. | Source

Chayote

(sechium edule)

Filipino word: sayote

See those twins? This chayote is also known as pear squash, christophene, or in the Philippines as sayote, is a vine and both the pear-shaped fruit and the young leaves are eaten, or say we consume both. And although the root is edible too and is eaten like yams, we hadn't tried consuming it. The young sprouts are good steamed and we enjoy it with lime or fish sauce. If not steamed, it goes well along with other vegetable while the fruit is one of the ingredients on chicken tinola dish.


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Bitter melons we had on containers on the patio.Young bitter melon fruit.Prepared bitter melon fruit to be cook with cellophane noodles.Bitter melon fruit cooked with cellophane noodles.
Bitter melons we had on containers on the patio.
Bitter melons we had on containers on the patio. | Source
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Young bitter melon fruit.
Young bitter melon fruit. | Source
Prepared bitter melon fruit to be cook with cellophane noodles.
Prepared bitter melon fruit to be cook with cellophane noodles. | Source
Bitter melon fruit cooked with cellophane noodles.
Bitter melon fruit cooked with cellophane noodles. | Source

Bitter melon

(momordica charantia)

Filipino word: ampalaya

Despite its bitterness, bitter melon was loved not only by mom and my uncle but by most people I know. It is one of the most common vegetable I see on the market and growing into backyards of friends. Both the leaves and fruits are eaten and even though I don't like the bitterness of it, it is one of my alternative medicine when it comes to my asthma attack when I was a kid, until now, bitter melon is still the one that comes to mind either it could be asthma, cough or cold.

Leaves and fruits are both consumed with the fruit usually an ingredient to Filipino dishes such as sauteed mung bean, and the chicken soup dish which is tinola, either the fruit or the leaves can go with this. And I admit, I like bitter melon with scrambled egg. and with that, I mean the fruit.

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Young kalunay flower (2012 photo.)Kalunay (amaranth) freshly picked from our container garden this year (2012.)Getting to maturity. (2012 photo.)Young kalunays, 2014.Young amaranth growing. Photo taken in my uncle's yard years ago.Kalunay seeds.Young kalunay with roots.
Young kalunay flower (2012 photo.)
Young kalunay flower (2012 photo.) | Source
Kalunay (amaranth) freshly picked from our container garden this year (2012.)
Kalunay (amaranth) freshly picked from our container garden this year (2012.) | Source
Getting to maturity. (2012 photo.)
Getting to maturity. (2012 photo.) | Source
Young kalunays, 2014.
Young kalunays, 2014. | Source
Young amaranth growing. Photo taken in my uncle's yard years ago.
Young amaranth growing. Photo taken in my uncle's yard years ago. | Source
Kalunay seeds.
Kalunay seeds. | Source
Young kalunay with roots.
Young kalunay with roots. | Source

Green amaranth

(amaranthus viridis)

Filipino word: kalunay

A green vegetable known as either slender or green amaranth. Green amaranth is self sowing and back in the Philippines, they would grow on the vacant fields about less than 2 ft. in height or more depending on the soil. I remember we had one before that had grown to about 3 ft. a very healthy one having broad leaves.

I prefer the kalunay or green amaranth than the kulitis (amaranthus spinosus) which has spikes. The spikes which goes with the flowers and along with the leaves on the branches takes my time on taking them off. Some might also refer the spiny one as kalunay and I got confused with it too before. But to remember which is which, I had kept in mind that the one which had pricked me many times is the amaranthus spinosus or we call kulitis.

The young sprouts are preferred by some, and my mom loved the purplish sprouts as they say the darker the leaves, the more nutrients it has. And thankfully, with the help of this plant, it had cured my dad from his kidney problems. I was so young back then, probably just about 6 or 7 years old and what I clearly remember was dad having trouble urinating and having some pain. We are so tight on money and mom and dad are always into alternative medicines and dad relied on this plant to help him get well. And his perseverance with drinking the amaranthus tea daily paid off.

Easy to cook and can just be steamed. It also goes and good with sardines together or chicken tinola, or even on sauteed mung bean.

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Photo of hyacinth bean flowers with young beans.A close-up photo of a hyacinth bean flower with young pods.Cooked hyacinth bean pods with Philippine beef stew nilaga.
Photo of hyacinth bean flowers with young beans.
Photo of hyacinth bean flowers with young beans. | Source
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A close-up photo of a hyacinth bean flower with young pods.
A close-up photo of a hyacinth bean flower with young pods. | Source
Cooked hyacinth bean pods with Philippine beef stew nilaga.
Cooked hyacinth bean pods with Philippine beef stew nilaga. | Source

Hyacinth bean

(lablab purpureus)

Filipino word: bataw

The hyacinth bean is one vegetable that would be seen on Filipino backyards climbing trellis or it could go on whenever support is available for it. I had a memory of climbing a scrubby part of our nipa hut as I offered mom to help pick more hyacinth bean for her cooking. It was fun, but one thing that helped made the memory stick in my head was when I spotted worms with the bean plant. That startled me as I didn't expected them there, but also more of because that's my phobia.

Back to the beans, not only the beans are consumed but with the young leaves and the young pods, but edges has to be removed first . Even the flowers are eaten I was told. With the matured pods, the beans are taken out instead and the pod has to be discarded.

Both photos of hyacinth bean flowers are taken the other day when I dropped by to a friends house. Her mom, I call 'nay (Filipino word for mom) asked if we still have hyacinth beans. Knowing ours had already stopped as the weather was getting colder, she offered to pick hyacinths saying theirs is still prolific, and so I went out with her on their backyard.

Just be cautious with the dry beans as they are poisonous. They can be consumed after a long period of boiling.

okra
okra | Source

Okra

(abelmoschus esculentus)

Filipino word: okra

Okra is another vegetable one would easily find in Filipino markets, or grown in yards. Known as ladies' fingers, or gumbo, okra is a slimy or mucilaginous vegetable and some fries their okras to lessen the sliminess.

Okra has been an ingredient to favorite dishes such as the chicken-soup based dish tinola. Also an ingredient to Ilocano's dish pinakbet.


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Lima beans or patani flowers.Patani flowers (lima beans.)Young patani (lima bean pod.)
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Lima beans or patani flowers.
Lima beans or patani flowers. | Source
Patani flowers (lima beans.)
Patani flowers (lima beans.) | Source
Young patani (lima bean pod.)
Young patani (lima bean pod.) | Source

Lima Beans

(phaseolus lunatus)

Filipino word: patani

Patani or lima beans is an annual climbing vine, green leaves are ovate with pointed tips. The plant bears a white clusters of flowers which turns into green lima bean pods, that are oblong in shape. The young leaves, pods, and seeds are all edible. The white variety of patani is considered as the best, while it is best to boil the colored variety, specially the dark-colored lima beans variety because of the amount of phaseolunatin found in it that maybe be poisonous.

Patani seed is boiled, and is a delicious addition in Filipino dishes, such as the sinigang. It is also a high source of fiber, and contains magnesium and folate.

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Sigarilyas (winged bean)
Sigarilyas (winged bean)
Sigarilyas (winged bean) | Source
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Winged Bean

(psophocarpus tetragonolobus)

Filipino word: sigarilyas

A tropical legume plant, winged bean's all part is edible, including the flowers, but it is the pods that is mostly seen sold in markets.

Winged bean, or also known as goa bean is known as sigarilyas in the Philippines. Matured winged beans, or sigarilyas are tough to chew on so it is suggested to harvest pods no longer than 6 inches long.

Sigarilyas can be pickled, stir-fried, good with other vegetables for sinigang dish, and is also cooked with coconut milk and shredded smoked fish.

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Jute leaves with an unopened flower.Jute immature fruits.Jute flower.
Jute leaves with an unopened flower.
Jute leaves with an unopened flower. | Source
Jute immature fruits.
Jute immature fruits. | Source
Jute flower.
Jute flower. | Source

Jute Mallows

(corchorus olitorius)

Filipino word:saluyot

One of the vegetables that my mom loves that we call saluyot, and I think most Ilocano's do and is one of the ingredients for the Ilocano dish denengdeng which is a mixture of vegetables seasoned with fermented fish. The leaves and young fruits are the parts used on this dish and has a slimy texture which is why I'm not really fond of jute leaves. Well, that was me, but if you are looking for a green vegetable that will provide a good source of calcium, iron, and protein, even betacarotene you might want to try jute leaves in your cooking. I had tried it sauteed with beans and I like it better.

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Long Beans.Prepared long beans for sinigang, a Filipino soured soup.Long bean tops is also consumed. Prepared long bean tops for a dish.Long beans cooked in vinegar and soy sauce.
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Long Beans.
Long Beans. | Source
Prepared long beans for sinigang, a Filipino soured soup.
Prepared long beans for sinigang, a Filipino soured soup. | Source
Long bean tops is also consumed.
Long bean tops is also consumed. | Source
Prepared long bean tops for a dish.
Prepared long bean tops for a dish. | Source
Long beans cooked in vinegar and soy sauce.
Long beans cooked in vinegar and soy sauce. | Source

Long beans

(vigna unguiculata)

Filipino word: sitaw


I love sauteed long beans! And this are one of those vegetables that we used to grow on the field back then for livelihood. Mom and dad would grow long beans along with eggplants, tomatoes, and squash and sell them on the market. There are few Filipino dishes that uses long beans and the very first thing came to my mind was one of brother's favorite, stew. Filipino stew can either be beef or pork stew with vegetables such as long beans, cabbage, carrots, and potatoes.

And when up for steamed beans, we enjoy the steamed long beans with a dipping sauce of soy sauce or lime juice.

Long beans is also known on some other names such as asparagus bean, snake bean, and long podded-cowpea.


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Eggplant

(solanum melongena)

Filipino word: talong


And who would exclude the eggplant? This purple vegetable has always a spot in our yard either directly on the ground or on a pot. And yes, we have our share of those breakfast with eggplant omelet (tortang talong) which is delightful and I also enjoy this healthy vegetable, fried or broiled.

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Sponge gourd (patola)
Sponge gourd (patola)
Sponge gourd (patola) | Source
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Sponge gourd

( luffa acutanggula)

Filipino word: patola

A vegetable that's good with sardines and misua, that's the way I prefer it amongst other way of cooking this ridged luffa, and I also prefer it thinly slice. It also goes well with horseradish along with other vegetable on Ilocano dish dinengdeng . And those rainy days with thundering nights are good spent with noodle soup such as luffa and misua.

Luffa or sponge gourd is at their best when they are young, because when they matured, the luffa hardens and would be too spongy to be consumed. So what's used for matured luffa or gourd? They are then made into sponges that we use on our kitchen and even on the bath.

Bottle gourd or upo
Bottle gourd or upo | Source

Bottle gourd

(lagenaria siceraria)

Filipino word: upo

A vine grown in the Philippines for its fruit, a favorite vegetable. It is best to pick the fruit young. Upo, or bottle gourd is cook in Filipino dishes such as tinola instead of using green papaya.It is also sauteed with misua noodles.

The young upo has a smooth, light green skin which turns completely green in color as the upo matures. When fully matured and harvested, it is use as a water dipper or bottle.

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Moringa leaves.Moringa leaves.Moringa tree.Malunggay pods.
Moringa leaves.
Moringa leaves. | Source
Moringa leaves.
Moringa leaves. | Source
Moringa tree.
Moringa tree. | Source
Malunggay pods.
Malunggay pods. | Source

Moringa

(moringa oleifera)

Filipino word: malunggay

Moringa, also known as drumstick tree, horseradish tree, and benzoil tree is called malunggay in Tagalog and is widely cultivated in the country. It is the leaves and the young pods of the tree that is consumed as a vegetable.

Moringa's tripinnate leaves can be cooked along with other vegetables in dishes such as tinola, which is a chicken-soup based dish, sinigang, and is also cooked with coconut milk along with shredded smoked fish and squash. My mom also included the leaves and the pods on her favorite Ilocano dish, pinakbet.


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KalabasaYoung squash with its unopened flower.squash, ready to be cooked.Flowers are also edible and cooked in Filipino dishes.Prepared squash leaves.Cooked tops.Cooked squash with long beans, in coconut milk.
Kalabasa
Kalabasa | Source
Young squash with its unopened flower.
Young squash with its unopened flower. | Source
squash, ready to be cooked.
squash, ready to be cooked. | Source
Flowers are also edible and cooked in Filipino dishes.
Flowers are also edible and cooked in Filipino dishes. | Source
Prepared squash leaves.
Prepared squash leaves. | Source
Cooked tops.
Cooked tops. | Source
Cooked squash with long beans, in coconut milk.
Cooked squash with long beans, in coconut milk. | Source

Squash

(cucurbita maxima)

Filipino word: kalabasa

Grown as a creeping vine or with trellis, squash, or kalabasa is another common vegetable one would see growing the the country. Parts of kalabasa other than the fruit such as the flowers, and the shoots are eaten. The young leaves are cook with Ilocano dish pakbet (pinakbet), or dinengdeng, can also be sauteed with meat or shredded smoked fish, or with coconut milk (guinataan) along with other vegetables such as long beans, egg plants,and moringa leaves.

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Lemongrass in a container.Lemongrass on arroz caldo.
Lemongrass in a container.
Lemongrass in a container. | Source
Lemongrass on arroz caldo.
Lemongrass on arroz caldo. | Source

Herbs Grown In The Philippines

Lemongrass

(Cymbopogon citratus)

Filipino word: tanglad

I could just smell the aroma of lemongrass or tanglad as we call it while looking at the photo. One of my dad's favorite on the yard. Most of our uses of lemongrass is for cooking. Using lemongrass on sauteing the Filipino dish chicken tinola will help rid the smell and give that fresh, lemongrass aroma. And for the same reason, we also stuff fish cavity such as milkfish and tilapia with lemongrass before grilling the fish. And yes, before I forget, I always make sure I have lemongrass on my arroz caldo or rice porridge.

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Oregano

(oreganum vulgare )

Filipino word: oregano

A perennial plant that can be spotted on yards and one of the plants we love having for its medicinal uses.

Oregano, sometimes referred to as wild marjoram has been one of my alternative remedies for cough and cold since a kid. And until now, we still grows oregano on a pot for the same purpose. With about 5 or more leaves, I could steam them to get the extract and drink it to keep either cold and cough at bay.

Which of these vegetables you are curious to try?

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Comments 2 comments

carol7777 profile image

carol7777 4 years ago from Arizona

I recognized several of these veggies....What an interesting hub. I love learning about new foods. These photos are great and you did a super job. Voting UP++


precy anza profile image

precy anza 4 years ago from San Diego Author

That's great Carol :) You probably are familiar to those then. And I'm thankful those photos turned out great, now I'm glad I have my old phone which I'm using for photos. Thanks Carol ^-^'

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