April 10, 2018

pipinong gubat

pipinong gubat - (pi-pi-nong gu-bat; Tagalog fruit; dw Span. pepino [cucumber] > Tag. pipino  + gubat [forest]) [n.creeping cucumber (sc.name: Melothria pendula, Linn.) \wild cucumber.
pipinong ihalas in Cebuano and Boholano
a.k.a. pipinong ligaw in Tagalog

A variety of very tiny cucumber having a smooth and watermelon-like berry. 

 The plant is a perennial climbing vine and can be found all over the Philippine archipelago, and in some other countries on the other side of the world.

This pipinong ihalas I found on the roadside of Bonifacio, Misamis Occidental is strikingly similar in size, shape, color, and taste (yes, I tried it) to that of pipinong gubat in Malolos, Bulacan and in Silang, Cavite.

It bears tiny oblong-elliptic yellow-green berries which turn black when matured and ripe that grows 10 to 20 millimeters long, and about 12 to 15 millimeters in diameter. 

The crisp young green berries are edible and can be pickled or put fresh and whole in salads. The black ones, can be used as purgative for livestock.

Personal notes:

Our folks in the provinces still wonder what to do with these tiny cukes, they do not eat them. They thought it's not safe to eat. They regarded the vine as a pesky plant in the farm. They do not know this plant is edible. Only few can recall that their old folks are picking this along the way and took as their snack. My dear friend, Jose Benigno Salvador, a food historian, shared that the Katipuneros of Bulacan used to forage on this wild tiny cucumber while they were trekking the terrains of Bulacan.

The pipinong ihalas that I found in Bonifacio, Misamis Occidental is strikingly similar in size, shape, color, and taste (yes, I tried it) to that of pipinong gubat or pipinong ligaw of Malolos, Bulacan and in Silang, Cavite. Last summer, I found it growing in the backyard of our house in Inopacan, Leyte. I learned later in my research that this plant grows all over the archipelago. The fact is, we can actually find this tiny cucumber on the other side of the world, where it is pickled or put in green salad. Last June 12, 2017, this was served as an heirloom salad by the Siglo Modern Filipino at the View Park Hotel of Tagaytay City, Cavite.

There was a study which found out that the “chemical-bromatologic” analysis of this wild cucumber constitutes source of water, vitamins, minerals, and even some proteins. The fruits of this plant, despite its reduced size, has a pleasant flavor and are edible for humans. Its foliage is given to livestock as forage. Thus, this “wild cucumber” could be an additional nutritional alternative for men and animals. The wild cuke is 12.6% protein, 16.30% fiber and 56.8% carbohydrates. The entire plant is good for ruminants.

In Myanmar, the green leaves are eaten as vegetable. One of my friends who learned about this, suggested that the leaves can be stir-fried with sauteed garlic just like when you cook talbos ng kamote or added in soupy dishes as you do with spinachYou may add sahog and seasonings of your choice.

When matured or ripe, the fruit would turn black and is used as purgative, usually to livestock and other foraging farm animals, and even to humans.

Propagation of pipinong gubat is by seed and cuttings.

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