Gabi/Taro | National Museum Bohol (@natmuseumbohol)

As we continue to celebrate Nutrition Month, today’s Tropical Thursday feature is the nutritious Taro (Colocasia esculenta Linn), locally called “Gabi”.

Gabi belongs to the genus Colocasia in the family Araceae, a plant that grows largely in humid tropical environments. It is an erect long-stalked herbaceous plant with wide, green ovate leaves and a tuberous root. Gabi can be cultivated in swampy areas.

Naturally poisonous due to the high content of oxalate (oxalic acid) in its leaves, gabi leaves must be prepared carefully to be edible. Boiling the leaves for 30 minutes or soaking them well in water can remove this toxic compound.

Considered a staple in the Philippines, gabi is a good source of essential nutrients. Its corms (fleshy tubers), leaves, and petioles (takway) can be cooked as vegetables. The fleshy tubers are often added to soups or stew to thicken the broth. Gabi corms can also be prepared into sweet treats such as the sweet, sticky Suman and the all-time favorite Binignit.

National Museum of the Philippines (2022)

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