It’s always invigorating to hit the markets early on a Saturday morning, and for me, the thrill of discovering something new or unusual has never waned. The weather has been less “monsoonal rain” over the past few weeks, particularly up north in the Mt. Province, I gather, and ‘its really quite obvious from the produce in the markets…it’s improved significantly compared with a month or two ago. Prices are coming down as well. Think PHP80 a kilo for romaine at my suki, Mary, at FTI (less if wholesale), while the same type of lettuce was asking PHP230-PHP250+ at the Salcedo market (some of it organic and some of it probably not). At any rate, here are some of the things that made it into my market basket(s). Up top, stunning edible blue pea flowers (clitoria ternatea). It’s not often your find plants/blooms in such a deep blue/purple color… and these would make a stunning addition to a salad or as a garnish for just about any dish.
Next up, some coriander sprouts or microgreens. I tasted one and was an INSTANT FAN. You don’t always want to be hit head on with the aggressive flavor of cilantro, so these small sprouts struck me as just something good cooks must have been hoping for all this time. This is the first time I have seen them, and even though I had no idea what to do with them, I bought a small container full, for PHP75. Back at home, we just carefully removed some of the seed skins or casings, rinsed the sprouts and stored them in the fridge.
Right next to the coriander sprouts were some green onion sprouts as well, seeds still attached to some of the fine greens. Again, the flavor of green onions, but in very small bursts on your palate. Took a pack of those as well. The top three items were from DowntoEarth at the center of the Salcedo market. And I got there at nearly 8am, when much of the good stuff was already gone…
You know Christmas is coming soon when dayap starts to appear in the markets. Joey Malana of DGM Organics (which aren’t all organic vegetables, I think) also at Salcedo Market had a whole sack, and as soon as he spotted me he said “Sir, may dayap!” — I must be his biggest customer for dayap, and I took 5 kilos of the fragrant citrus, even if I had no real plans for how to use all that bounty. They were large, juicy and FABULOUS. I really wish folks would DEMAND more dayap and that farmers would sit up and take note — there is money in dayap. Seriously. One of my all-time favorite pinoy ingredients, period.
Before getting to the Salcedo market, I hit the FTI AANI Taguig market (I fear for its future, now that Ayala has purchased the FTI compound) at 6am, and my fruit suki had a shipment of pomegranates in stock. These are the pale pink Chinese pomegranates, I think, not the deep red ones I once featured in this older post. She also had rock hard plums which were not appealing, some hard persimmons, and some fabulous lansones. If you have had your head in the sand for the last few weeks, take it out and buy some lansones! It’s days away from the Camiguin lansones festival and I wanted to hit the island this month, but there are no more flights to Camiguin and the seas are relatively rough these days… The lansones, at PHP100-120 per kilo, were really fantastic. And lansones season does not last that long, so enjoy them while you can!
Picked a couple of weeks too early, these western style eggplants that should grow to say half a kilo in weight each or so, were a gift from my suki at FTI… I had purchased several baskets full of veggies and I found these tucked into the basket. I have been waiting for the large eggplants to make a re-appearance, as some foreign friends have been hoping to score some for the eggplant parmigiano dish… Perhaps another few weeks…
Finally, this slightly unusual looking gourd or marrow, which I thought was just a fat upo or relative of it… The vendor said it was a winter melon or kundol, so I took one to try. We haven’t opened it yet, so I can’t confirm that it is a winter melon, but whatever it is, I hope it tastes good! :)