By Rosseadelle Ganayo
We’ll let you in on a budgeting hack: cook with produce that’s in season! Why? Because fruit and vegetables that are naturally abundant on certain months of the year are more affordable. Check out our list for September and recipe ideas you can use these ingredients with, and visit a market near you!
(Prices may have changed without prior notice from the date of writing. Source: Philippine Statistics Authority*)
Flavor profile: Refreshingly sweet with a tropical tartness, reminiscent of a banana
Best cooking method: Left raw, or turned into juice
Price (/kg): PHP30 – 150
Cook with it: Known as “The Queen of Fruit”, mangosteen is highly valued for its concentration of antioxidants. It contains high levels of anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties to help the immune system. The flesh is soft and has a luscious, creamy mouthfeel so it is best to enjoy it as it is or as a juice to get maximum nutritional value.
Flavor profile: Sweet and tangy
Best cooking method: Left raw or boiling
Price (/kg): PHP80 – 200
Cook with it: With an overflowing sweetness that attracts swarms of ants to signal its full ripe-ness, the lanzones lends a pleasantly different tang when added to dishes in its under ripe state! Try adding it to sinigang with our Roasted Pork Sinigang sa Batwan recipe.
Flavor profile: Tangy with a floral finish
Best cooking method: Turning the juice into sauce
Price (/kg): PHP30 – 60
Cook with it: The flavors of calamansi are light and perfectly counteract rich flavors. It’s a great way to balance out any over-indulgent recipe! Try it with our Bangus Belly Steaks recipe.
Flavor profile: Sweet
Best cooking method: Baking and roasting
Price (8-10 pcs/kg): PHP60 – 100
Cook with it: Here’s an interesting fact: carrots are more nutritious when cooked. Make your own healthy fries by cutting the carrots into sticks and bake them rather than frying them! A great snack that’s filling and nutritious. Recipe here.
Flavor profile: Peppery while raw, sweet when cooked
Best cooking method: Boiling and braising
Price (750 g -1 kg/head): PHP40 – 100
Cook with it: Cabbages supply the body with more nutrients and antioxidants once cooked and can serve a big group when you boil or braise them! Make an indulgent yet nutri-packed dish with this Cheesy Galunggong Repolyo Rolls recipe.
Flavor profile: Acidic when raw. Sweet and tart with hints of savory when cooked
Best cooking method: Braising and simmering
Price (15-18 pcs/kg): PHP 48 – 100
Cook with it: Let the acidity of tomatoes concentrate into your soup and blend with the richness from the bone broth by simmering low and slow. The sharp flavors of the tomatoes cut through the creaminess and keep your taste buds alive and wanting more. Try to not finish an entire pot of this Kansi when you make it at home.
Flavor profile: Pleasantly bitter and savory
Best cooking method: Grilling and sauteing
Price (8-10 pcs/kg): PHP50 – 100
Cook with it: Eggplant is incredibly spongy and absorbent, so it’s best to not expose it to oil for a prolonged period of time. That being said, this makes it ideal to introduce more flavors into the eggplant by cooking it with meat and other robust, savory flavors. Want an excuse to make sisig healthier without it feeling healthy? Try our Tortang Talong Sisig and eat more vegetables!
Flavor profile: Bitter
Best cooking method: Sautéing
Price (4-5 pcs/kg): PHP50 – 100
Cook with it: Ampalaya is an acquired taste, especially for kids. Don’t fret though, because as long as you wash it properly, you can lessen its overpowering bitterness that some find too strong. If you or whoever you’re feeding is a bit traumatized by the simple visual, hide it like this Pakbet Bagnet Empanada did.
Potato (Yukon Gold)
Flavor profile: Slightly sweet
Best cooking method: Boiling
Price (10-12 pcs/kg): PHP40 – 88
Cook with it: Unknown to many, potatoes have many varieties which have different uses. The variety available in the Philippines would be the Yukon Gold, which is an all-purpose potato. They have a medium level of starch with slightly waxy skin, which makes the potatoes perfect for thick soups and chowders during the rainy season.
Flavor profile: Sharp and pungent when raw, sweet and mild when cooked
Best cooking method: Left raw
Price (13-15 pcs/kg): PHP40 – 100
Cook with it: The red onion is sweet as the other onions when cooked but produce more promi-nent “onion” flavor when left raw. This is why red onions are favored in salads because their crisp texture add bite, plus the strong flavor doesn’t get lost with the other greens. It instead offers a pleasant contrast to the bitter, sweet, and sour.
Flavor profile: Neutral, earthy with a mild buttery taste
Best cooking method: Stir-frying and sautéing
Price (3-4 small bundles/kg): PHP50 – 100
Cook with it: Sitaw is another vegetable that absorbs flavor very well but at the same time leaves a fresh taste in your mouth. It’s why it’s so favored in stir-fries with strong flavors and even pancit. It doesn’t take long to cook so using high heat is best for this vegetable.
Flavor profile: Slightly bitter, mild peppery notes with hints of buttery aftertaste.
Best cooking method: Added to soups
Price (3-4 small bundles/kg): PHP55 – 100
Cook with it: An excellent source of fiber when added to your soups. The peppery notes refresh the palate and the crunch of the stalk is a welcome change to slurping broths and melt-in-your-mouth meat. Try this Bulalo Sa Gata the next time it rains!
*From psa.gov.ph: “This price bulletin presents prices of selected commodities monitored in 5 wholesale markets, 11 wet markets and supermarket. Data on wholesale prices are collected 2 times a week, while those on retail price are collected 3 times a week – Frequency: 3x a week; Schedule of Release: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.”