It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Here are some crops that you can buy and use for Noche Buena and other festivities this month.
Celery (Apium graveolens)
Celery, or kintsay in Tagalog, is a cool climate-loving crop that is mostly grown in Benguet and Mt. Province. One of the most common varieties in the country is the Tall Utah celery. You can make the most of this vegetable since all parts of it are edible–from its crunchy stalks and leaves to its seeds. It also contains vitamins A and C, potassium, calcium, and phosphorus. To reap these health benefits, consume it fresh or cooked by adding it to food and drink like soups, juices, and salads.
Labanos (Raphanus sativus)
A crop that you can also incorporate into various meals is labanos or radish. It is a white, oblong-shaped root vegetable that can be easily grown in just 40 to 60 days. It has a crunchy texture akin to a carrot but has a more acidic, slightly bitter taste. Labanos can go in a salad, can be pickled, or can be cooked with other vegetables, seafood, or meat. The daikon radish, which is native to Asia, is a labanos variety that many Filipinos are more familiar with. If you’re looking for a low-carb, high-protein vegetable, this one fits the bill.
Lanzones (Lansium parasiticum)
Filipino homes won’t be complete without round fruits during the Christmas season. Bring luck into your home with a bunch of lanzones on the table. Lanzones are easy to eat and are normally peeled by hand. The sweet-sour taste of this fruit makes it a local favorite. It is even celebrated in a yearly celebration in Camiguin, which they call the “Lanzones Festival.”
Tisa or tiesa (Pouteria campechiana)
If there’s a fruit that should be present in every Filipino household more often, it would be tisa. However, this is not the case today as the market for this fruit is almost non-existent in the Philippines. As a result, it is listed as an endangered heritage food under Slow Food’s Ark of Taste.
Tiesa, also known as eggfruit, is a seasonal fruit available starting in October and is at its peak in December. Its yellow ripe fruits are a good source of carotene, niacin, and vitamin C. You can enjoy this fruit as is or with condiments like salt and pepper. You can also make ice cream out of it to jazz up your holiday feast.