PNG Traditional Vegetables Project

Grower's Guide for Traditional Vegetables

* NB: The information collated below is a work in progress for collaborators of this project to amend according to their latest research

Aibika

Botanic name: Abelmoschus manihot

Aibika Uses: Leaves & tips can be eaten fresh. Older leaves are steamed in coconut milk, or boil, fry, bake. Good for Pregnant women and babies. More in 'Recipes'

Tok Pisin: Inglis em raitem rediim kaikai Aibika  kaikaim nupela, mumu, boilem, prai, praiim.

Micro-nutrients - mg/kg dry weight of leaves: (Source: Goebel et al, 2013)

Nutrition: Aibika has 12 times the beta carotene content, 20 times the foliate content and 5 times the vitamin C content of tomato.

* High Lutein & carotene levels good for eye and bone health * Magnesium good for energy, nerve, and muscle function

Harvest: Harvest year around, within 80 days of planting. Pick from stem at cool part of day. Yield 2.8 tons/ha.

Storage: Place in shaded area. It will keep 2 days.

Transport: Bundle loosely in damp paper. Transport in airtight cool container.

Source: R. Goebel, M. Taylor & G. Lyons, 2013, Top 10 Nutritious leafy vegetables in the Pacific: Fact sheets, Australian Government Australian Centre for Agricultural Research.

French. Bruce R, 2006, Food Plants of Papua New Guinea: A Compendium Revised Edition, 38 West St Burnie Tasmania 7320.

Aupa

Common Names: Aupa, Vegetable/Chinese/ Spleen/Purple Amaranth.

Botanic Name: Amaranthus spp.

 

Uses: Eat leaves and stems fresh, steamed, boiled or fried. Seeds ground into flour similar to quinoa or stews. Traditionally pregnant women eat Aupa encourage blood flow.

Tok Pisin: Kaikaim nupela, mumu, boilem or prai.

Nutritional Value: Amaranth has 1.5x protein, 3x Iron & 100x more Vitamin A than English cabbage.

 

Traditionally pregnant women eat Aupa encourage blood flow.

Mcro-nutrient content -mg/kg dry weight of leaves: (Source: Goebel et al, 2013)

Harvest: Harvest year around, within 80 days of planting. Pick from stem at cool part of day. Yield 2.8 tons/ha.

Storage: Place in shaded area. It will keep 2 days.

Transport: Bundle loosely in damp paper. Transport in airtight cool container.

Source: R. Goebel, M. Taylor & G. Lyons, 2013, Top 10 Nutritious leafy vegetables in the Pacific: Fact sheets, Australian Government Australian Centre for Agricultural Research.

French. Bruce R, 2006, Food Plants of Papua New Guinea: A Compendium Revised Edition, 38 West St Burnie Tasmania 7320.

Coastal Bamboo or mambu - Nastus elatus.

Small Bamboo: Bambusa forbesii

Large Bamboo - Bambusa vulgaris

Uses: Young shoots at 50cm long must be cooked for at least 2 hours to remove bitterness. Bamboo has multiple uses such as cooking, construction & tools.

Nutritional Value: Fresh bamboo shoots are high amino acids important for metabolic functions and regulating hormones. They are also high minerals, Vitamins A, B6, and E, and in fibre.

Table: Nutritional Content of 100g fresh weight of B. vulgaris (P.Nongdam, 2014)

Source: P. Nongdam and Leimapokpam Tikendra, 2014, The Nutritional Facts of Bamboo Shoots and Their Usage as Important Traditional Foods of Northeast India, International Scholarly Research Notices, Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 679073, http://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn/2014/679073/

Bruce French, 2006, Food Crops of Papua New Guinea: An Introduction to the crops, their importance and their distribution in Papua New Guinea, Burnie Tasmania

Preparation: Peel away outer sheaths and cut off tough end. Boil in water for at least 2 hours or until very soft. Remove any remaining tough outer layers and wash thoroughly. Dice and store in water until ready to cook.

Harvest: Harvest year around - grows best during wet season. Cut using machete or loppers. Select shoots that are dense.

Storage: Keep in cool, shaded place. If sheaths stay in place, can keep up to 5-6 days.

 

Breadfruit/ Highlands Kapiak leaves

Common Names: Highlands Kapiak, Breadfruit leaves, Dinner Plate Fig

Botanic Name: Ficus dammaropsis

Uses: Young leaves are boiled and eaten with meat. The fruits are often boiled and the leaves are used as wrapping to cook food.

Tok Pisin: Hailans kapiak

 

Harvest: Harvest all year round. Pick leaves at base of stems at cool part of day.

Storage: Store in cool dry place. Will keep 2-3 days

Preparation:

Straighten leaves, remove stem and wash. Must be cooked (boiled, steamed, fried) to remove sap.

Fruit can also be eaten after boiling

 

Information sources: French. Bruce R, 2006, Food Plants of Papua New Guinea: A Compendium Revised Edition, 38 West St Burnie Tasmania 7320.

Botanic Name: Sechium edule

Common Names: Kru Sako, Sioko, Choco tips

Uses: Fresh tips can be eaten in a salad or can be steamed, fried or boiled in coconut milk. The leaves, fruit and root can also be eaten.

 

Nutritional Value: Choko tips are rich in zinc, copper and proteins which are good for muscle formation and components of the blood

Choco tips micro-nutrient content - mg/kg dry weight mg/kg:

Harvest: Harvest year around. Pick at cool part of day.

Storage: Place in shaded area, stand up in a bucket of water. It will keep 2 days. Wash with clean water

Transport: Bundle loosely in damp paper. Transport in airtight cool container.

Table Source: R. Goebel, M. Taylor & G. Lyons, 2013, Top 10 Nutritious leafy vegetables in the Pacific: Fact sheets, Australian Government Australian Centre for Agricultural Research.

Information sources: French. Bruce R, 2006, Food Plants of Papua New Guinea: A Compendium Revised Edition, 38 West St Burnie Tasmania 7320.

Names: Tree fern (Cyathea spp); Swamp or Vegetable fern (Diplazium spp); Climbing Swamp fern (Stenochlaena palustris); Kumugrass (Callipteris prolifera) tips; and Pneumatopteris sogerensis

Uses: Cook slightly unfurled young leaves. Eaten with meat, sago or other vegetables.

Tok Pisin: Foi - tunane sai, kaluli-sa

Nutritional Value: Fern tips contain Vitamin C. S. palustris is a good source of potassium which helps control water balance in the body and phosphorus which is important for energy production

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Bamboo Shoots

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Nutritional Value:

Contains Iron which is good for bloody and energy and proteins which are important for muscle formation. Also contains Pro-vitamin A which is good for healthy bone growth and vision.

Source: Bruce French, 2006, Food Plants of Papua New Guinea: A compendium Revised Edition, Burnie Tasmania

For a full list of References, please go to the Contacts page

Uses: Young fern leaves cooked when slightly unfurled. They are eaten with meat, sago or other vegetables. In the highlands only eaten with pig feasts.

Harvest: Harvest year around. Remove young tender leaves when they start unfurling

Storage: Wash leaves with clean water then loosely bundle in damp paper or bucket of water. Store in cool spot

Transport: Place in airtight container

Voon Boon Hoe and Kueh Hong Siong,1990, The Nurtitional Value of traditional fruits and vegetables in Sarawak, Asia Pacific J Clin Nutr (1990) 8(1):24-31

Information sources: French. Bruce R, 2006, Food Plants of Papua New Guinea: A Compendium Revised Edition, 38 West St Burnie Tasmania 7320.

Fig Leaves

Common Names: Fig Leaves, Kumu musong

Botanic: Many varieties - Ficus copiosa & Ficus wassa most common. Lesser: Ficus pungens and Ficus racemosa

Description: F. copiosa grows 5-20m, large 10-25cm sandpaper-like leaves, round 4-5ccm fruit grow from stem. F. wassa grows 5-8m, rough slightly serrated leaves in opposite arrangement, and red/purple figs grown in clusters. F. pungens grows to 25m high, sharp spines on branches, 25-45cm long serrated ovate leaves, and figs paired in clusters. F. racemosa has alternate smooth leaves, figs cluster on trunk.

Uses: The leaves are cooked before eating.

Young shoots and leaves are stir-fried or boiled in coconut milk. The fruits can also be cooked.

Harvest: Usually harvested from the wild year around.

Storage: Wash leaves with clean water then loosely bundle in damp paper or bucket of water. Store in cool spot.

Nutritional Value: Contains Vitamin C important for body growth and healthy teeth, blood, and bones

Information sources: French. Bruce R, 2006, Food Plants of Papua New Guinea: A Compendium Revised Edition, 38 West St Burnie Tasmania 7320.

Kang Kong

Common Name: Kangkong, Water spinach

Botanic: Ipomoea aquatica or Ipomoea reptans

Description: A trailing water plant with arrow-like leaves and a white flower.

Nutritional Value: Kangkong contains Lutein which is good for the eyes, and beta-carotene which is important for immunity and bone growth. It also contains Iron: good for your blood and energy, and Proteins which help with muscle formation, blood components (DNA & RNA) and cell membranes.

Nutrient content: Kangkong mg/kg dry weight: R. Goebel, M. Taylor & G. Lyons, 2013

Uses: The leaves are eaten fresh in salads or cooked with the stems.

Harvest: Remove tips daily if in good condition back to the 3rd newest leaf. Harvest in cooler part of day. Wash with clean water

Storage: Place picked runners in water. Can last 2-3 days.

Information sources: Bourke. Michael. R, Harwood. Tracy, 2009, Food and Agriculture of Papua New Guinea, ANU E Press, The Australian National University Canberra, ACT, 0200

French. Bruce R, 2006, Food Plants of Papua New Guinea: A Compendium Revised Edition, 38 West St Burnie Tasmania 7320.

Table source: R. Goebel, M. Taylor & G. Lyons, 2013, Top 10 Nutritious leafy vegetables in the Pacific: Fact sheets, Australian Government Australian Centre for Agricultural Research.

Karakap

Common Name: Karakap, Blackberried nightshade

Botanic: Solanum nigrum

 

Uses: A leafy green vegetable, the young shoots and leaves are stir-fried or boiled in coconut milk. The fruits can also be cooked.

Description:  An upright shrub growing to 1m high, white star-shaped flowers, pale green fruit which turns black-purple colour

Nutritional Value: Karakap contains Iron which is good for blood and energy; protein for muscle formation. It also contains high levels of beta-carotene, as well as folic acid, and calcium.

Harvest: Remove the last 5cm off each branch. Yields 2.8 tonnes per hectare over a harvest period between 14 to 70 weeks

Storage: Store in cool place away from sunlight up to 2 days

Information sources: Jimoh, F. O., et al. (2010). "Comparison of the nutritional value and biological activities of the acetone, methanol and water extracts of the leaves of Solanum nigrum and Leonotis leonorus." Food and Chemical Toxicology 48(3): 964-971.

Bourke. Michael. R, Harwood. Tracy, 2009, Food and Agriculture of Papua New Guinea, ANU E Press, The Australian National University Canberra, ACT, 0200

French. Bruce R, 2006, Food Plants of Papua New Guinea: A Compendium Revised Edition, 38 West St Burnie Tasmania 7320.

Common Name: Lowland or Coast Pitpit

Botanical Name: Saccharum edule

Description: Lowland forms in clumps up to 3m high, looks similar to sugarcane but slimmer. Light green leaves with the flower stalk at top.

Common Name: Highland or Short Pitpit

Botanical Name: Setaria palmifolia

Description: Highland: clumps grows 1m high, grass-like leaves are red, green, white.

Nutritional Value: Lowland Pitpit Contains proteins which are good for muscle formation; calcium which is important for growth of bones and teeth; and pro-vitamin C good for vision.

Information sources: Bourke. Michael. R, Harwood. Tracy, 2009, Food and Agriculture of Papua New Guinea, ANU E Press, The Australian National University Canberra, ACT, 0200

French. Bruce R, 2006, Food Plants of Papua New Guinea: A Compendium Revised Edition, 38 West St Burnie Tasmania 7320.

French. Bruce R, 2006, Growing the Major Food Plants of Papua New Guinea, 38 West St Burnie Tasmania 7320

Common Name: Pumpkin tips

Botanic: Cucurbita moschata and C. Maxima

Uses: The young tips are edible once the layer of hairs removed. Often stir-fried, baked, boiled or steamed with coconut milk. The fruit is cooked and seeds baked for eating.

Tok Pisin: Inglis em raitem kiakaim insait stem nupela

Nutritional Value: Contains copper which helps blood production; proteins which are important for muscle formation and blood components. Also contains zinc assisting in immunity and protein formation.

Nutrient content: Pumpkin tips mg/kg in dry weight: (Source, Goebel et al, 2006)

Harvest: Young shoots and leaves can be picked regularly.

Preparation: Scrape hairs off bottom of young leaves and stems. The outer layer of larger stems can be peeled away

Storage: Place in shaded area, stand up in a bucket of water. It will keep 2 days. Wash with clean water

Information sources: R. Goebel, M. Taylor & G. Lyons, 2013, Top 10 Nutritious leafy vegetables in the Pacific: Fact sheets, Australian Government Australian Centre for Agricultural Research.

French. Bruce R, 2006, Food Plants of Papua New Guinea: A Compendium Revised Edition, 38 West St Burnie Tasmania 7320.

French. Bruce R, 2006, Growing the Major Food Plants of Papua New Guinea, 38 West St Burnie Tasmania 7320

Common Names: Rungia, Mushroom plant

Botanic: Rungia klossii

Description: A small clumped shrub with small dark green leaves with a lighter green streak down centre and produce purple flowers.

Uses: Leaves & tips can be eaten fresh in salads or cooked.

Nutritional Value:

Rungia has 272mg of calcium per 100g which is higher than many other vegetables such as kale (249mg) and broccoli (103mg). It is 3% protein which is good for muscle formation. It also contains Vitamin C and beta-carotene for healthy eyes and Iron which is important for healthy blood.

Harvest: Takes 3-4 months to mature. Harvest tips regularly. Total yields for harvest 6.4 tonnes per hectare.

Storage: Wash with clean water. Store in cool place. Will last up to 2-3 days.

Transport: Transport in airtight cool container.

Information sources: Shepard, Isabell, 2003-2009, Herbs are special, sourced 2015, http://www.herbsarespecial.com.au/free-herb-information/mushroom-plant.html

Bourke. Michael. R, Harwood. Tracy, 2009, Food and Agriculture of Papua New Guinea, ANU E Press, The Australian National University Canberra, ACT, 0200

French. Bruce R, 2006, Food Crops of Papua New Guinea: An introduction to the corps, their importance and distribution in Papua New Guinea, 38 West St Burnie Tasmania 7320

Common Names: Tu-lip, Two Leaf

Botanic: Gnetum gnemon

Description: Grows to 10m tree, dense foliage, dark green glossy leaves grow in pairs, young leaves light green, male flowers grow on spikes, females as cones, and red fruit.

Uses: Cook young leaf tips. Also cook flowers and fruit for eating. Fruit should be crushed first.

Nutritional Value:

Contains protein which are good for muscle formation and high in energy. Contains high levels of calcium which are good bones and teeth, as well as iron and Vitamin A and C for healthy eyes.

Nutrient content: Tu-lip leaves per 100g fresh weight: (Source, French 2006)

Harvest: Harvest year around. Remove young light green leaves.

Storage: Wash leaves with clean water then loosely bundle in damp paper or bucket of water. Store in cool spot up to 2 days

Information sources: French. Bruce R, 2006, Food Plants of Papua New Guinea: A Compendium Revised Edition, 38 West St Burnie Tasmania 7320.

French. Bruce R, 2006, Growing the Major Food Plants of Papua New Guinea, 38 West St Burnie Tasmania 7320

Harley I. Manner & Craig R. Elevitch, 2006, Gnetum gnemon, Species Profile for Pacific Island Agroforestry; issue April 2006 ver.1.1, https://raskisimani.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/gnetum-gnetum.pdf

Common Names: Walangur, Valanguar, Aralia. Also known at Eta in Solomon Islands

Botanic: Polyscias fruticosa, , P. scuttellaria, and P. verticillata

Uses: Cook young leaves as leafy green vegetables, provide nice flavour in stews

 

Nutritional Value: Polyscia spp contains high levels of calcium important for bones and teeth, Zinc: important for growth and immunity, and Magnesium for healthy nerve and muscle function.

Nutritional Content: 3 types of Polyscia spp tested, mg/kg dry weight (Goebel et al: 2013)

Harvest: Once matured young leaves can be harvested daily

Storage: Wash leaves with clean water then loosely bundle in damp paper or bucket of water. Store in cool spot.

Uses: Lowland– Unopened flower eaten raw or either baked in the leaves over an open fire or fried in coconut milk.

Highland pitpit: Strip the shoot to eat the tender portion of shoots. They are often steamed in bamboo or boiled with coconut milk.

Harvest: Lowland - Takes 6-9 months between planting to harvest. Highland: can occur between 5 months and 2 years after planting.

Storage: Keep wrapped in leaves, tie in bundle if it’s to be sold at market.

Information sources: Goebel, M. Taylor & G. Lyons, 2013, Leafy Green Vegetables in the Pacific: Fact sheet 4, Australian Government Australian Centre for Agricultural Research.

French. Bruce R, 2006, Food Plants of Papua New Guinea: A Compendium Revised Edition, 38 West St Burnie Tasmania 7320.

French. Bruce R, 2006, Growing the Major Food Plants of Papua New Guinea, 38 West St Burnie Tasmania 7320

Common Names: Watercress

Botanic: Nasturtium officinale

Uses: Young stems and leaves are eaten raw or cooked. If water where Watercress sourced from not clean then must be cooked. Seeds can be ground into a mustard-flavoured powder.

Tok Pisin: Wara kebis

Nutritional Value: Contains protein which are good for muscle formation and high in energy. Contains Iron for healthy blood and Vitamin C for healthy eyes.

Nutrient content: 100g fresh weight: (Source, USDA, 2015)

Harvest: Harvest 5-10cm tips every 4-6 weeks. Ready for harvesting 4-6 weeks after planting. Will grow for a number of years

Storage: Wash with clean water. Store in cool place. Will last up to 2-3 days.

Common Names: Water Dropwort, Chinese celery

Botanic: Oenanthe javanica

Description: Shrub grows to 1m, erect stems, serrated  leaflets, white flowers that grow on top of seed stalks.

Uses: Young leaves and stems can be eaten raw or cooked.

 

Nutritional Value: High in Beta carotene important for vision; contains calcium important for growth of teeth and bones; and iron for  your blood and energy.

Nutrient content: O. javanica per 100g fresh weight: (Source, French 2006)

Harvest: Matures and can be harvested within 14 weeks of planting and can yield 9.7 tonnes per hectare per harvest season. A harvest season can last approx. 76 weeks/1.5 years.

Storage: Wash with clean water. Store in cool place. Will last up to 2-3 days.

Information sources: French. Bruce R, 2006, Food Plants of Papua New Guinea: A Compendium Revised Edition, 38 West St Burnie Tasmania 7320.

French. Bruce R, 2006, Growing the Major Food Plants of Papua New Guinea, 38 West St Burnie Tasmania 7320

Bourke. Michael. R, Harwood. Tracy, 2009, Food and Agriculture of Papua New Guinea, ANU E Press, The Australian National University Canberra, ACT, 0200

Common Names: Winged Bean

Botanic Name: Psophocarpus tetragonolobus

Uses: All parts of the plant are edible including the leaves, pods, seeds, flowers and roots.

 

The seeds and tubers need to be soaked and boiled before eating.

Nutritional Value: All edible parts of the winged bean contains Protein, Folate, Potassium and Phosphorus. They also contain Calcium which is beneficial for bones and teeth, as well as Iron which good for healthy blood and energy.

Winged bean and leaf per 100g fresh weight. (Source: US Department of Agriculture)

Harvest: Pods picked 10-13 weeks after planting. Tubers take 4-5 months after planting. Per plant yields on average 75 pods and 45-330g dry beans.

Storage: Store in cool place. Tubers, leaves and flowers will last up to 2-3 days.

Information sources: French. Bruce R, 2006, Diseases of Food Plants in Papua New Guinea: A compendium, 38 West St Burnie Tasmania 7320.

French. Bruce R, 2006, Growing the Major Food Plants of Papua New Guinea, 38 West St Burnie Tasmania 7320

United States Department of Agriculture, 2015, National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 27: Basic Report: 11597; 11599; and 16135, sourced 2015: http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/3264?manu=&fgcd=

Valanguar

Information sources: French. Bruce R, 2006, Food Plants of Papua New Guinea: A Compendium Revised Edition, 38 West St Burnie Tasmania 7320.

French. Bruce R, 2006, Growing the Major Food Plants of Papua New Guinea, 38 West St Burnie Tasmania 73202015

United States Department of Agriculture, 2015, National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 27: Basic report: 11591, Watercress Raw, Sourced 2015 http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/3294?fg=&man=&lfacet=&count=&max=35&sort=&qlookup=11591&offset=&format=Abridged&new=&measureby=

Solanum nigrum mg/100g - Source: (Jimoh, Adedapo et al. 2010)

Nutrient content: Lowland Pitpit per 100g fresh weight: (Source, French 2006)

Collaborators

Contact: Claire Webb Charles Darwin University Project Coordinator claire.webb@cdu.edu.au

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