Sayote: Green Gold From the Boondocks

Sayote a.k.a. chayote a.k.a. sechium edule is now selling at P20/kilo here in Manila. It’s a bit cheaper than cabbage and wongbok but it’s also much much cheaper to produce. Unlike the other highland vegetables which need a lot of farm input (those dangerous pesticides and commercial fertilizers), sayote is rather cheap and easy to raise. You just plant a seed anywhere, water it occasionally and it will bear fruit long after the end of Gloria’s disastrous reign.

Sayote is believed to have originated from Guatemala and Mexico. It might have reached our corner of the world during the days of the galleon trade when the Philippines was trading with Mexico.

Some tidbits about sayote:

* Wangal, La-Trinidad produces the best sayote according to people from Wangal. [Source, scroll down]

* The raw pulp can be used to sooth skin rashes. The roasted leaves help in the suppuration of boils. [Source] (Comment: How does one roast the leaves?)

* We Igorots, who are not really known for our cooking skills, cook sayote by dumping chunks of them along with things like etag or beaten-to-death chicken in a potful of boiling water. Thankfully, JMom has a post on how you can cook guisadong sayote to add to your (I’m guessing here) non-existent culinary skills.

* The sayote shoots which you buy in the Baguio City Market are nothing but sayote leaves. It’s not good for pasalubong unless you don’t like the person you are giving them to. [Source: Personal Experience]

* Sayote is rich in amino acids and vitamin C according to wikipedia.

* Sayote Myth 1: In Australia, a rumor has floated around for years that McDonalds Apple Pies were made of sayote, not apples. This eventually led them to emphasize the fact that real Granny Smith apples are used in their pies. Interestingly, sayote is more expensive than the apples supplied to McDonalds Australia. [Source: wikipedia]

* Sayote Myth 2: Due to its cell regenerative properties, it is believed as an urban myth that this fruit caused the mummification of people from Colombian town of San Bernardo who extensively consumed it. The very well conserved skin and flesh can be seen in the mummies today. [Source: wikipedia] (Question: Did our Kabayan ancestors use sayote to preserve the mummies?)

* Sayote “co-starred” in the movie Daan Patungong Kalimugtong which we reviewed here.

* Sayote is usually the Cordillera Region’s relief contribution to other regions facing disasters/calamities. [Source]

NOTE: I was thinking of doing a post on why sayote is called a “green gold” but got distracted by all the above tidbits. Anyway, I’m sure you know why it is called the green gold from the boondocks 🙂

PHOTO CREDIT: Baguiocity.com

20 thoughts on “Sayote: Green Gold From the Boondocks”

  1. Sayote, hmmm.
    No college graduate or student from Baguio can ever claim to have tasted Sayote.
    I like it chicken tinola, as papaya replacement.

  2. kung walang sayote sa backyard namin sa pinget..cguro i am a college drop out…sayote saves my life…delayed allowance nun, kaya puro sayote…kaya para indi ko makalimutan yung moment na yun i decided making a painting on sayote… ngayon naka display sa kitchen namin yung painting..my parents loves it because nabuhay sila sa sayote at naka pag-aral…

  3. I live in the Bay Area, Ca, and met 2 Filipinas who have shared me their backyard produce – and of course, that’s Sayote!
    I wouldn’t buy them at the store, they cost like a $1 each and not as fresh.
    Love it also with eggs for breakfast. And the sayote tops are better than camote tops steamed and dipped in bagoong patis with calamansi….hmmmm…may nagugutom na ba?

  4. During my childhood in Baguio, I remember we grew a lot of sayote in our yard. My mom still grows them now at our house in Baguio but not as many as before.

  5. During my PCEC (now Pines City Colleges)nursing days, people at BGH used to call me ‘Sayote Queen’ cuz of our sayote green school uniform. Now, I wonder, did PCEC choose that color particularly because sayote seemed to be everywhere in Baguio and the Benguet area? hehe…

    pine color is a deeper shade so i’m sure that’s not it.

    ganda

  6. Hi Anonymous,
    Yup, its a good substitute for papaya. Thanks.

    Hi Nats,
    Hey, great painting. I’m stealing it and uploading it later hehe.

    Hi Kayni,
    Happy eating 🙂

    Hi Anonymous,
    Wow, that’s expensive. A dollar for one sayote. Hehe ako’y nagutom when you mentioned sayote tops with bagoong and calamansi 🙂

    Hi Wil,
    We have sayote in our yard too. As Nats said, it’s a savior during lean times because it is always bearing fruit. Thanks 🙂

  7. Hi Ganda,
    Oops, missed your comment. I’ve seen that uniform kind of like apple green ano? Aba meron kang kapangalan na blogger named Sayote Queen ah. Thanks.

  8. Sa kaniya na lang yung name na Sayote Queen. Di mo ba alam na binato ko ng scalpel ang isang anesthesiologist sa isang ospital dun sa baguio dahil sa kakatawag niya sakin ng pangalan na yan?! Mabuti na lang at di nabulag. Kaya the title sayote queen and I have no love lost sa pagitan namin. hehehe

    G

  9. Hi Ganda,
    Hehe, interesting story. As you said, mabuti hindi nabulag kasi kawawa yung tao kung sakali. At baka idemanda ka pa niya. Thanks.

  10. chuchu in brazil , sayote in NZ is called choko pretty similar huh….sayote tops salad – blanch tops then toss it with diced tomatoes,shallots,lime juice ,patis,chicken powder,ginger and there you go yummy … it’s my favourite salad , goes well with fried fish…..

  11. my gosh, puro sayote ang iyong posts ngayong lingo. haha!! Thanks for the links. Susubukan ko talaga yung chuchu salad mo…taste test natin kung pasado sa igorot palate 🙂

  12. Hi Anonymous,
    The wikipedia article i linked to also stated that sayote is also called choko in Australia. That salad of yours sounds yummy… my mouth is watering. Thanks.

    Hi Jmom,
    Hehe, the sayote postings took a life of its. Nakakatuwa because I wasn’t planning to blog about sayote at all. Sana pasado kasi aalisin ko yung recipe kung hindi 🙂

  13. Sa totoo lang, up to know. I’m wondering why lowlanders make a big deal when it comes to sayote. I mean, it’s not as healthy as cabbage or kangkong.

    Yung isang hindi nga taga dito sa amin, ginagarapal yung sayote ng kapitbahay namin. Halatang hindi taga bundok kasi gusto niya ubusin yung sayote nung kapitbahay namin(di pa ata sila nagpaalam)

    Uwian niyo kami ng sayote ha?!

    Naku po.

  14. Hi Anonymous,
    Hehe, I also don’t cook (except instant noodles) so I’m just as clueless kung ano ang chicken powder. Hope the others can help us. Thanks.

    Hi Kris,
    Sana sinita mo. Or baka naman gutom talaga kaya pinag-interesan na ang sayote. Thanks 🙂

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