Looking at the fruits which resemble blackberries, I was fascinated. I was looking for some subjects to practice my macro shots on early this morning when I noticed these dark purple fruits hanging in a trellis which hubby made a few months ago. I don’t eat alugbati, preferring the more popular camote tops and the fresh young leaves of chayote. Lots of persuasions from hubby to try it, steamed and squeezed with kalamansi or mixed with mongo didn’t induce me to even taste it, but he eats it like he is eating camote tops that I like.
Known as Malabar spinach, Indian spinach or climbing spinach, luo kui shu( in Chinese), is one of the most popular indigenous leafy vegetables in the Philippines. Originally from India, it is usually found in hedges and cultivated areas and is extensively grown in market gardens and home gardens.
Its leaves are somewhat fleshy, ovate or heart-shaped. The fruit is fleshy and turns purple when it matures. The young stems, leaves and shoots are blanched. One of the reasons why I get turned-off is because the flavor is a little earthy and the texture when cooked is slimy. I later learned that it has lots of uses and nutritional values. The purplish dye from the ripe fruit is used as food color while the cooked roots are used for treating diarrhea. The cooked stems and leaves are good laxative and the flowers are used as antidote for poison. A paste of the leaves is applied to treat boils while a paste of the root is good for swelling.
Alugbati grows well under full sunlight in hot, humid climate like ours. It may take sometime before I’ll learn to eat this nutritional vegetable but until then, I’ll just watch hubby enjoy his plate of steamed alugbati and fried fish to go with it.