Taro or Gabi. We literally call it gabi even if its popular name is taro. I was too naive that I discovered it just a while ago.
I went to father’s farm to get some taro. It was not easy cause father has abandoned taro farming. The crop demand was so low that a half sack only cost 30 pesos.
Taro farming has been abandoned but I was sure I can still find some. The plant grows easily even in poorly irrigated area. Uprooted corm can still grow and multiply as long as its side is touching the soil.
A large taro corm. Too bad I was not looking for this one. Gabi with grown stalks and leaves is not harvested for human consumption. Papa and big brother said, boiling in water will not make it soft. Same is true with pressure cooking, broiling and frying.
A large taro plant is uprooted by pulling the stalks. Young corms are attached to it or left underground. Dig the soil carefully to get the remaining.
I managed to get about three kilograms. I guessed it was enough. Besides, there were no more plants big enough for uprooting.
What we do with taro.
1) Boiled gabi. Our very popular merienda when we were still young. Wash young corms to remove dirts. Boil in enough water until soft. Remove the skin then eat. However, we preferred broiled cassava and boiled camote. We were gathering gabi whenever the two were not available.
2) Mashed taro. Mashed it and mixed with sugar to mask the effect of itchy substance – never know the specific name yet.
3) Vegetable dish ingredient. It serves as meat extender and gives the soup a viscous texture.