10 Great Reasons Why You Should Eat Sayote Fruits And Shoots

Among crops grown in the Philippines, the sayote is often looked upon as one of those with the least commercial value. In a way, this is true because sayote crops usually carry price tags that are way below other well-known crops such as cauliflowers, cabbages, potatoes, celery, and carrots, among others.

Another reason why sayote is not that lucrative here is the fact that it has a rather bland taste. To many people, this can be off-putting. But as a well-known chef once said, "Sayote tastes bland because you cooked it bland." In other words, there are ways around such blandness like exploring recipes other than the ginisa cooking style that Filipinos often use when serving up sayote.

The bland taste and the low commercial value aside, the sayote is green gold as far as its benefits are concerned. There are dozens of reasons why you should include it in your diet. Below are 10 of these reasons. After reading these, you will never look at a sayote fruit or plant the same way again. Without further ado, here are the many benefits of sayote.

1) It's a great source of amino acids and vitamin C.
What the sayote lacks in taste, it makes up for in nutritional value. According to Purdue University, the sayote fruit especially its seeds contain highly essential amino acids like aspartic acid, alanine, cysteine, glycine, isoleucine, methionine, glutamic acid, arginine, and tyrosine. A lot of these can be found in the seeds. With that said, throwing out the hard seeds when peeling a sayote fruit is a bad idea as it contains a lot of nutrients.

Sayote also contains significant amounts of vitamin C. Your body needs this particular vitamin to regrow and repair tissues. Vitamin C assists the body in creating collagen, a protein that the body uses to make cartilage, ligaments, skin and blood vessels.

Photo by Dao Nguyen (Wikimedia Commons).
2) Almost every part of the sayote plant is edible. 
Yes, you can eat its fruits, roots, stems, shoots, and leaves. Not many Filipinos are aware of this, but you can dig up the roots and tubers of the sayote plant and boil it then it eat the way you eat a sweet potato. The tubers are starchy and in some countries, these are fried and eaten like yam.

In the Philippines, sayote fruits and shoots are commonly stir-fried or added as ingredient to soup dishes. It's also a very common ingredient in several dishes like tinolang manok, chop suey and pinakbet. In Latin American countries like Brazil, sayote fruits are also breaded and fried.

3) It's very affordable.
 Sayote fruits are cheap because the supply is always high. They are sold either per piece or per kilo. When sold on a per kilo basis, the price often range from 5 to 30 pesos. There even instances wherein the price goes below 5 pesos. Sayote shoots are usually more expensive than the fruits.

Aside from being very affordable, sayote fruits also don't spoil that easily. You can leave them at your kitchen table for weeks and they still remain fresh. Of course, it's highly recommended that you refrigerate them for longevity.

4) It helps in preventing or treating certain illnesses.
This is because sayote fruits and shoots have diuretic, cardiovascular, and anti-inflammatory properties. With that said, the plant has several medicinal purposes. For instance, tea made from sayote plants can be very helpful in dissolving kidney stones. Same tea is also used to assist in the treatment of people suffering from hypertension and arteriosclerosis.

Additionally, infusions made from sayote fruits can be quite helpful in alleviating urine retention. Modern scientific studies have confirmed a lot of these medicinal capabilities of the sayote plant and fruit.

5) It can be used as an ingredient in almost all soup-based and vegetable-based dishes.
It doesn't matter if what you have are the fruits or the shoots. Simply chop them up and add them into the boiling pot. Because of their almost neutral taste, sayote fruits and shoots don't substantially change the overall taste of dishes.

You can add them to noodles, boiled meat recipes, soups, sinigang, boiled fish recipes, etc. They're always great alternatives if you don't have a particular vegetable in your ingredients list.

6. You can eat it raw.
Yes, it may not be a common practice here in the Philippines but in some countries, sayote fruits are eaten raw. They are usually added into salad-based dishes. They are commonly used as raw ingredients in particular recipes.

A very popular way of consuming raw sayote is by using it to make juice or shake. Using a blender to turn the sayote fruit into drinkable matter and then adding other ingredients to give it some taste, a sayote fruit can be turned into a really tasty glass of healthy juice or shake.

7. It's easy to grow. 
As long as you live in an area wherein the climate is conducive to growing sayote plants, there's not much barriers to producing all the fruits and shoots that you need. Several square meters of land is all you need. Just build some sort of a trellis and you are good to go.

Sayote plants don't need a lot of attention either. As long as you provide them adequate water and fertilizer, they'll grow and produce their fleshy fruits on their own. And they grow really fast. You can harvest your first sayote fruits in a matter of just a few months.

8. It can be used to make jams and other sweets.
 In Mexico, enterprising people there have found ways to dry sayote fruits and then use these as ingredients in making sayote jams, candies and other sweets. It does seem to be quite a process but hey as long as you have time, making sayote candies is something you might want to spend it on. Especially if you have quite a supply of sayote fruits in your backyard.

9. It can help you lose some weight.
There's a reason why sayote juices and shakes are growing in popularity among weight-conscious individuals. This is because sayote fruits are low on calories. Because the fruit's water and fiber content is high, a person can feel fuller for much longer without having to take in a lot of calories.

10. The leaves and stems can be used as feed for livestock like pigs and cattle and even chickens.
If you have a farm, big or small, you can use every part of the sayote plant. You can eat the fruits, the shoots, and the tuberous roots. As to the fibrous stems and hardened leaves, you can use these as feed for your livestock. These are not only organic, they are nutritious as well.

So the next time you go to the public market to buy your vegetable supply for the week, don't forget to include sayote in your shopping list. They are affordable, they are nutritious, and they have long shelf value.