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Taro Plant or Gabi

Updated on July 26, 2014
Taro plants.
Taro plants. | Source

To start with, taro is a tropical, perennial plant and is native to South Asia and South India that can grow up to 4 ft. in height. A plant that bears heart-shape, large leaves, taro is cultivated throughout the Philippines and is called gabi in the country.

Taro do well in in swampy or moist soil. There's this one time I remember my dad had decided to try planting taro by the river bank. This was years ago and I was probably 6 or 7 years old. The taro plants did so well and they even had tubers that my mom was so happy to know about. She cooks it, that's why. Currently, we still have few taro plants but unlike those passed years, now we have them planted in containers as our space for gardening is a little area. And once in a while, few stems here and there that my mom had harvested and dried makes a meal, their favorite dish.

What part of the taro plant is edible?

* Everything! All part is consumed. Those are the corms,the stem and the leaves. It's been a staple food of some countries like Africa and South India.

Be careful though not to try consuming it raw as the plant contains calcium oxalate but can be neutralized when the taro is cooked or soaked first before cooking.

Cooking Taro:

* Gabi, as we call the plant in the Philippines is a specialty in the Bicol region of the country, well, that's what my mom used to tell me every time my dad cooks laing, which is a recipe from his province in Albay, Bicol. A dish comprised of the dried taro leaves and stalks, cooked in coconut milk with either shredded smoked fish, meat, or even sardines.

* Just like sweet potatoes, it can also be boiled, roasted, or even baked. When boiled, it can be enjoyed with sugar and grated coconut.

* The corms, when cooked could get slimy, and one ingredient on my mom's Ilocano dish, dinengdeng.

* The taro leaves is used in the dish pinangat, to wrap the fish and simmer in vinegar, water, chopped ginger, onions and garlic.

* The corms is also an ingredient to one of my favorite dessert, glutinous rice balls in coconut milk called bilo-bilo.

Now, let's go on how other countries consumes the taro or how they used it in their cooking.

* The Chinese uses taro in making desserts, and cakes such as the taro cakes for their New year celebration.

* In Greece, taro is served as a salad after being boiled.

* Corms and stems are consumed in Japan, it depends on the variety with the stems while the corms are most likely boiled in soy sauce and fish stock.

* Taro is cooked in Turkey with beans, peas, and meat.

Taro corms
Taro corms | Source

What would you get for eating taro?

= Taro is a good source of C vitamin, fiber and protein when the leaves are consumed.

= Including the corms in your meals provides B vitamin. It also provides other important minerals such as iron, manganese and copper.

= Taro provides magnesium to help our muscles and bone health.

= Taro is high in fiber and E vitamin.

Did you know?

Taro, a staple food to some countries is also grown as an ornamental plant and is often called elephant ears.

Fokloric Uses:

* The stalks can be warmed up and use to treat itches or rashes. I had learned about this from my dad who would pick up and warm up a taro stalk and use it to soothe itches or rashes.

* Poultice of the roots is used in infected sores.

* Juice of the taro leaf is use to treat otalgia, adenitis, and internal hemorrhages. Not only that, it is also use to treat insect bites, snake bites, and even scorpion stings.

* Juice is also consumed to reduce fever.

* The juice of the corm is used to treat alopecia (hair loss.)

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Taro on container. ( Colocasia esculenta.)Taro leaves sold in our favorite grocery store.
Taro on container. ( Colocasia esculenta.)
Taro on container. ( Colocasia esculenta.) | Source
Taro leaves sold in our favorite grocery store.
Taro leaves sold in our favorite grocery store. | Source
Taro leaves and stalk prepared to be cooked with coconut milk.
Taro leaves and stalk prepared to be cooked with coconut milk. | Source

For a fun learning

Taro in other languages:

* Taro is called as gabi in the Philippines

* In Lebanon, taro is known as kilkass and is mainly grown along the Mediterranean coast.

* Known as arvi, or eddoe in Pakistan.

* Known as toran in South Korea and taro is made into toranguk, which is a traditional Korean soup.

* Taro, called ocumo chino in Venezuela is used in soups.

* Kalo in Hawaii.

* Known as aroei in Suriname by the native Indians.


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    • precy anza profile imageAUTHOR

      precy anza 

      4 years ago from USA

      @ Avian:

      And thank you for dropping by here. Have a great weekend :)

      @ DDE:

      It is indeed unique. And all parts are edible.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Taro Plant is unique and new to me I enjoy learning about new plants.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I never even realized that this was elephant ears. Thanks for the great info.


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