By Patricia Bianca S. Taculao
Love is not the only thing in season this February. Here’s a list of crops that are available during the month:
- Lemon (Citrus limon) – Believed to have originated from the eastern Himalaya of India, lemon trees are small evergreen trees grown for its edible fruit. They can grow up to a height of 10 to 20 feet and usually have sharp thorns on the twigs. The fruit is rounded and slightly elongated, with an exterior surrounded by a thick green rind which turns yellow when ripe. Inside, the fruits possess soft, yellow, segmented pulp that usually tastes sour, like most citrus fruits. Lemons are commonly used as an ingredient in drinks such as the popular lemonade but it can also be applied as a flavoring or garnish in a number of recipes as a substitute for calamansi.
- Ube (Dioscorea alatea) – Ube, or ubi, is a species of yam whose plant is a slender creeping vine that can reach a length of several meters. Its edible tubers are usually purple in color, or plain white at times. Ube is eaten as a vegetable but is popularly known in the Philippines as the staple ingredient in making ube jam and other ube-related food products such as cakes, candy, and more.
- Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) – Mainly cultivated for its edible cucumber fruits, the plant is an annual prowling vine characterized with large leaves and curling tendrils. Cucumber fruits vary in shape but are commonly curved cylinders with rounded ends and can measure up to 24 inches in length and 3.9 inches in diameter. Cucumbers are used in a variety of salads or as garnishes for dishes and drinks.
- Orange (Citrus sinensis) – A popular citrus fruit, oranges grow from a branched tree with a rounded crown. It can reach a height of 16 to 49 feet and can live to almost a hundred years. The fruit is round with a bright orange rind that protects its segmented pulpy flesh on the inside. Aside from being eaten as is, oranges are also turned into juice, candies, and more because of its sweet to sour taste.
- Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) – Known as “langka” in Filipino, jackfruits come from a smooth tree that grows to a height of 26 to 49 feet. The fruits vary in shape and size but usually have a yellow-green rind when ripe and an edible luscious pulp on the inside. Although jackfruits are fruits, there is a growing trend where it has been used as a substitute for meat. Beloved Filipino dishes like adobo, mechado and more have undergone the plant-based twist by using jackfruit rather than pork or beef.