Indigenous Pako Veggie, Athyrium esculentum


I remember the times when we used to go to rivers. We always gather small crabs, snails,  katuray and pako.

Pako has the scientific name of Athyrium esculentum. It belongs to family of fern. The very common use is for different vegetable cookings like adobo and ginisa. It can also be served as salad.

Almost all rivers here in Philippines have pako. It can also be cultured inside your garden provided with plenty of water. Or you can culture it by means of aquaponic.

You might be interested in Pako Aquaponics. See it here.

Pako is a good source of calcium, phosphorus, iron and vitamin B. Decoction of rhizomes, young leaves and sugar is good for haemoptysis and for ordinary coughs.


Pako should not be mistaken with tagabas. Tagabas fern is not edible. If you are able to eat tagabas, tell me and I will update this post.

Make Burong Mustasa with Nutrient Benefits

Mustasa or Mustard leaves are eaten in the Philippines as a green leafy vegetable, either fresh or pickled in brine. They are excellent sources of essential nutrients.

Recipe Procedure:
1. Gather good quality leaves. Fresh leaves are preferred. Some folks like leaves with flowers.
2. Wash and rinse thoroughly.
3. Wilt under the sun for two hours.
4. Arrange leaves in earthen jar and sprinkle 1/4 cup salt for every kg of mustard leaves.
5. Pour 3 cups of rice washing.
6. Allow natural fermentation of lactic acid bacteria for seven days.
7. Fermented mustard should be sour and crispy.

If you plan to make burong mustasa on a regular basis, monitor and adjust salt concentration using salometer.

Nutrient Content per 100g of Mustard Leaves

Nutrient Units Value per
100 grams
Energy kcal 26
Protein g 2.70
Total lipid (fat) g 0.20
Carbohydrate, by difference g 4.90
Fiber, total dietary g 3.3
Sugars, total g 1.60
Minerals Units Value per
100 grams
Calcium, Ca mg 103
Iron, Fe mg 1.46
Magnesium, Mg mg 32
Phosphorus, P mg 43
Potassium, K mg 354
Sodium, Na mg 25
Zinc, Zn mg 0.20
Copper, Cu mg 0.147
Manganese, Mn mg 0.480
Selenium, Se mcg 0.9
Vitamins Units Value per
100 grams
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid mg 70.0
Thiamin mg 0.080
Riboflavin mg 0.110
Niacin mg 0.800
Pantothenic acid mg 0.210
Vitamin B-6 mg 0.180
Folate, total mcg 187
Folate, food mcg 187
Folate, DFE mcg_DFE 187
Choline, total mg 0.4
Vitamin A, RAE mcg_RAE 525
Carotene, beta mcg 6300
Vitamin A, IU IU 10500
Lutein + zeaxanthin mcg 9900
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) mg 2.01
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) mcg 497.3
Lipids Units Value per
100 grams
Fatty acids, total saturated g 0.010
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated g 0.092
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated g 0.038
Amino acids Units Value per
100 grams
Tryptophan g 0.030
Threonine g 0.072
Isoleucine g 0.098
Leucine g 0.083
Lysine g 0.123
Methionine g 0.025
Cystine g 0.040
Phenylalanine g 0.072
Tyrosine g 0.143
Valine g 0.105
Arginine g 0.197
Histidine g 0.048

nutrient table by: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 22 (2009)

How to Make Sauerkraut (Fermented Cabbage)


Basic Principles:

1. Selected heads of cabbage are core-shredded and soaked in tap water with 2.5% (by weight) salt concentration and allowed to ferment. During the initial stages of fermentation, there is a rapid evolution of gas caused by Leuconostoc mesenteroides; this process imparts much of the pleasant flavour to the product.

2.The next stage involves Lactobacillus cucumeris fermentation, resulting in an increase of lactic acid;

3. Finally after approximately 5 days at 20-24°C, the third stage, involving a further group of lactic acid bacteria such as Leuconostoc pentoaceticus, which yields more lactic acid combined with acetic acid, ethyl alcohol, carbon dioxide, and mannitol.

4. The fermentation process ends when the lactic acid production is approximately 1-2%. This can be tested by titration of the acid with a 0.1 N sodium hydroxide (NaOH) solution, using phenolphthalein (0.1% w/v) as colour indicator (i.e., 2-5 drops are added to the acid solution; colour will change from clear to pink and persists for 30 seconds). After the fermentation process, either the tank is sealed to exclude air or the product is then packed into glass jars or canned.


Specific Instructions:

1. Select good, mature cabbages; remove external leaves; wash remaining heads well.
2. With a sharp knife cut the heads into four sections, removing the hearts. Slice two and a half kilos of cabbage into fine strips approximately 2 to 3 cm long.
3. Put above cabbage in pot or plastic container and mix well, adding two tablespoons of salt. Let stand for 15 minutes or more, while preparing another batch of cabbage. The quantity of salt added must be in accordance with the amount of cabbage used for proper fermentation. While the cabbage is in repose, the salt works to reduce the lot size, extract the juice, and soften the cabbage. This will prevent breakage of strips during packaging.
4. The cabbage is packed into clean wide-mouth 4 L glass or plastic jars.
5. Eliminate air bubbles from the cabbage by pressing hard with hand. This allows juices to penetrate the tissues and holes formed between strips. Soft pressing is recommended to avoid breaking the finer strips.
6. Place plastic bag full of water on top of the cabbage to prevent air from penetrating the container and the cabbage. Close the jars tightly. After approximately 24 hours of fermentation, the juices should have completely covered the cabbage. Otherwise, add a brine solution composed of 25 g of salt per L of water until all cabbage strips are covered. The presence of bubbles is an indication that fermentation is in progress. This process lasts from 5 to 6 weeks or until the bubbles disappear from the solution, after which the fermented cabbage is heated in a pot until boiling.
7. Pack cabbage into sterile jars and cover with hot juice, leaving a head space of 2.5 cm below the jar’s rim.
8. Place lids on each jar and sterilize the jars in a boiling water bath for 15 and 20 minutes for 0.5 L and 1 L jars, respectively.

an excerpt from handling and preservation of fruits and vegetables by combined methods for rural areas

How to Make Kalabasa Leche Flan, Macaroons and Suman(Squash)

squash kalabasa core


Materials Needed:
For every cup of mashed kalabasa.
1 cup condensed milk
1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla
2 heaping teaspoon brown sugar to be caramelized

1. Peel the kalabasa and boil for 20 minutes. Mash thoroughly using a fork.
2. Combine the mashed mixture, milk, egg and vanilla.
4. Caramelize the brown sugar and line the pan mold.
5. Pour the mixture into the lined pan mold and cover with aluminum foil or plastic.
6. Steam in hot water (double boiler) for 25 minutes or until done.


1/2 cup butter
4 eggs
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 pack dessicated coconut
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup grated squash

1. Cream the butter until light and fluffy.
2. Add the sugar gradually while stirring.
3. Add eggs one by one, constantly stirring after adding each egg.
4. Add the condensed milk.
5. Add the dessicated coconut, squash, vanilla, and mix well.
6. Put in muffin molds lined with paper or aluminum foil.
7. Cook in oven at 350 oC for half an hour.

squash kalabasa core

KALCOSUMAN (Squash Suman)

1/2 cup malagkit rice (glutenous rice)
2 cups grated squash
1 1/2 cups ordinary rice
1/3 cup latik
3/4 cup coconut milk (second extraction)
banana leaves

1. Soak overnight: rice and malagkit and grind on the following day.
2. Soak the ground rice and malagkit in coconut milk until soft.
3. Add the sugar and squash.
4. Cook over low fire, constantly stirring until thick. Cool.
5. Prepare the leaves for wrapping by heating over low fire. Brush the leaves with butter.
6. Put two tablespoonful of the mixture in every wrap, put latik on top of each before closing.
7. Tie with string and cook for half an hour in a double boiler container.

technologies provided by

How to Make Pickled Euchemia Seaweeds


This simple technology for processing of pickled eucheuma seaweeds was provided by Department of Agriculture.



Gather the needed ingredients:
eucheuma seaweeds
green and green pepper
pickling solution:1 cup vinegar + 1 cup sugar +1 tsp salt

Follow these procedures:
1. Soak eucheuma in fresh water overnight.
2. Drain and cut into desired length.
3. Blanch in lukewarm water for 5 minutes. Let it cool.
4. Boil the pickling solution for 5 minutes. Let it cool.
5. Mix all ingredients in a bowl except the pickling solution.
6. Pack in sterilized bottles
7. Pour the solution into filled bottles then seal completely.

Quality Control Notes:
Measure the following physico-chemical properties and and adjust accordingly to your set standard. This properties should be uniform every batch.
a. sugar content
b. pH
c. titrable acidity

Sources of Iron for Vegetarian


Written by Catherine Rose P. Josue of FNRI

With the advent of fastfoods around the corners and tempting food advertisements nowadays, local rootcrops such as camote, cassava and tugi, and legumes such as peanuts and green peas are not so much considered for snack. There are more reasons why we should think otherwise.

Root crops are rich in carbohydrates, our cheap and main source of energy. Legumes, on the other hand, are good substitutes for meat as protein source. But aside from being carbohydrate and protein sources, respectively, root crops and legumes can also be considered as functional foods. They have other nutritional and health benefits. They are both good sources of dietary fiber, a food component which has been associated with the prevention of several chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, colon cancer, and control of diabetes.


A recent study done by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST) determined the effects of local root crops and legumes in lowering cholesterol levels among humans with moderately-raised cholesterol levels. Five rootcrops and six legumes were studied. The subjects were given 50 grams available carbohydrates from the test foods for 14 days and venous blood samples were collected for analysis of total cholesterol, triglyceride, and HDL/LDL cholesterol. The study showed that camote and cassava have significantly decreased the total cholesterol levels of the subjects. This is also true for legumes like peanut, abitsuelas, green peas, mungbean, pigeon pea, and chick pea, with peanut showing marked decrease in total cholesterol levels among the subjects.

The study also showed that cassava, abitsuelas and peanut have significantly decreased low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-c) levels of the subjects while camote, tugi and mungbean significantly decreased triglyceride levels. The study concluded that root crops and legumes may have a significant role in reducing lipid biomarkers like total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and triglyceride due to their high total dietary fiber content.

How does dietary fiber lower blood cholesterol? Cholesterol is the main component of bile acids secreted during digestion in the intestine. Dietary fiber coats the bile acids in the intestine and excreted in the body. The body then draws cholesterol from the blood to form bile acids, thus, lowering blood cholesterol level.

Messages 4 and 5 of the Nutritional Guidelines for Filipinos developed by the Technical Working Group led by the FNRI-DOST suggests consuming root crops and legumes. So why don’t we try eating boiled camote or peanuts the next time we have our snack?