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Vegetables Grown in the Philippines - Know Your Veggies and Their Filipino Names

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Precy loves to write about many topics, including Filipino culture, legends and traditions.

What are the vegetables grown in the Philippines?

What are the vegetables grown in the Philippines?

Vegetables has always been a part of our garden. Both my parents are into vegetable gardening and even with our small space, we found a way to push through the hobby. Growing up, I've seen my parents tend a garden that didn't only serve as our own backyard market for fresh home grown veggies to go with whatever recipe is at hand but also became our source of livelihood. Squash, long beans and eggplants are just few of home grown veggies my mother used to sell in the market with each harvest. And although there's some I didn't like very much, seeing them growing even in containers or pots reminds me of childhood in the farm during summer days.

With prices continually going up with almost everything, it isn't uncommon to see home grown vegetables specially in Philippine provinces. Not only that this is more convenient than a trip to a nearby market and saving few bucks but it is healthier as well knowing how you tended your own veggies, free of chemicals. Being in the country specially in Philippine provinces where home grown vegetables is part of life in the province, will make you want to know the local veggies. What are the vegetables commonly grown in the Philippines? Read on and get to know your Filipino veggies and which have all edible parts.

Chayote

Filipino word: sayote

Sechium edule

Chayote is also known as pear squash and christophene. Known as sayote, chayote is a vine with green pear-shape fruit, a favorite in the Filipino dish tinola.

Aside from the fruit, chayote or sayote leaves are edible as well with young shoots sold in bundles in Asian markets. It is either steamed but it goes well along with other veggies in Filipino dishes like sinigang, pinakbet and dinengdeng. Some consumes the edible roots as well, eaten like yams. But that I haven't tried myself so I can't say anything about consuming the roots.

Bitter melon

Filipino word: ampalaya

Momordica charantia

One of the most commonly grown veggie is ampalaya. Not only the ridged green fruit is edible but the leaves as well, sold in bundles and makes a perfect veggie for mung beans. While the leaves are perfect for a tea to boost immunity, it isn't unusual to have the fruit in Filipino scrambled egg and one of the preferred ingredients in two Ilocano dishes - pinakbet and dinengdeng.


Green Amaranth

Filipino word: kalunay

Amaranthus viridis

A known and favorite veggie of the Ilocanos is kalunay, also known as red spinach. Why it is called red spinach? Most likely because the seedlings are reddish which fades and turns to green as the plant matures.

Easy to cook and goes well with along veggies for almost any Filipino dish even with mung bean dish and sauteed sardines. It can just be steamed as well and some includes it on their salad. The young sprouts are preferred by some consuming even the roots as they say the darker the leaves, the more nutrients it has.

I prefer the kalunay or green amaranth than the kulitis or amaranthus spinosus which has spikes. The spikes which goes with the flowers and along with the leaves along the stems could take time when preparing the veggie.

Kalunay or Red Spinach

Hyacinth bean

Filipino word: bataw

Lablab purpureus

Another common garden occupant amongst veggies is the hyacinth bean often seen climbing in trellis and sometimes left tending for itself for whatever plant 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 expect them there, but also more of because that's my phobia.

Not only the beans are consumed but with the young leaves and the young pods as well after removing the rough edges. Even the flowers are eaten as I was told. With the matured pods, the beans are taken out instead and the pod has to be discarded.

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

More About Hyacinth Bean, Photos and Video

  • Hyacinth Bean: Photos and Health Benefits
    A healthy eat which most parts of the plant is consumed. The "bataw" or hyacinth bean is also grown as ornamental plant. Here's showing some hyacinth bean photos (flowers and pods.)

Okra

Filipino word: okra

Abelmoschus esculentus

Okra is another veggie 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 the Ilocano dish pinakbet.

Okra.

Okra.

Lima Beans

Filipino word: patani

Phaseolus lunatus

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 poisonous.

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

Winged Bean

Filipino word: sigarilyas

Psophocarpus tetragonolobus

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

Also known as goa bean, winged 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.

Read More About Winged Bean

  • Winged Bean (Sigarilyas)
    Winged bean (psophocarpus tetragonolobus) known as sigarilyas is a tropical legume plant that grows in the country's humid, warm climate.

Jute Mallow

Filipino word: saluyot

Corchorus olitorius

Known in Filipino as saluyot and is one of the favorites when it comes to veggie gardens. It is the leaves that are consumed and is one of the ingredients of the Ilocano dish denengdeng which is a mixture of vegetables seasoned with fermented fish. I must add that just like okra, jute mallow or saluyot is slimy as well.

Jute mallow provides a good source of calcium, iron and protein, even betacarotene.

More About Jute Mallow

  • Saluyot Plant
    Known to others as Jew's mallow or okra bush is considered as a staple food on some part of the world. Learn more about this annual plant that is regarded to many countries as a leafy vegetable.

Long Beans

Filipino word: sitaw

Vigna unguiculata

I love sauteed long beans. Who wouldn't? Known in Filipino as sitaw, this is one of the favorites when it comes to backyard gardening. Long beans goes with almost any Filipino dish such as the beef or pork stew nilaga along with other veggies. It is a choice as well for the soured dish sinigang that could be either meat or fish. Of course it is enjoyed steamed as well and is often eaten with favorite Filipino dipping sauce called sawsawan - as simple as the Filipino lime calamansi with a dash of salt, soy sauce and calamansi or a mixture of chopped tomatoes and chives with either soy sauce or fish sauce.

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

Eggplant

Filipino word: talong

Solanum melongena

And who would exclude the eggplant? This purple vegetable always has a spot in our yard either directly on the ground or in a pot. And yes, we have our share of those breakfast with eggplant omelet called tortang talong which is delightful. A healthy veggie either broiled, fried or even when cooked along with other veggies on any Filipino dish with soup.

Sponge Gourd

Filipino word: patola

Luffa acutanggula

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

Filipino word: upo

Lagenaria siceraria

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.

Upo.

Upo.

Moringa

Filipino word: malunggay

Moringa oleifera

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.


Squash

Filipino word: kalabasa

Cucurbita maxima

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.

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.

Comments

Jack Burton from The Midwest on March 05, 2019:

After 45 years still do not prefer the bitter melon but most everything else I think is great.

Nilda Johnston on September 17, 2018:

I want to know the name of the vegetable that u can liken it to a hairy caterpillar, long n somewhat greenish, yellowish in colour. My mom used to include it in pinakbet or dinengding.

Linda Bryen from United Kingdom on May 22, 2018:

I love all of them Philippines vegetables especially the chayote and okra and long beans too. Good hub Precy.

precy anza (author) from USA on December 01, 2012:

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 ^-^'

carol stanley from Arizona on December 01, 2012:

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++