Curious to taste Paco or simply Edible Fern?

Our first lunch during our Baler Adventure was very unforgettable to me because it was my first time to taste this vegetable which has a scientific name of Athyrium esculentum . It is an edible fern found throughout in Asia and Oceania. Paco which is commonly known as Vegetable fern or edible fern are the most commonly consumed fern.

In Baler, it is being sold by street vendors as one of those ordinary vegetables in the market. I saw it personally and I was able to compare it from the usual ornamental fern that I saw in Bohol. A vegetable fern is very different from the house plant. When I was in Bohol, the only fern that I am aware are merely plants that grow on the mountains and are usually for landscapes and flower arrangement. I thought that it is a poisonous plant but I discovered during my Baler Tour that there is a specific variety of Fern that Filipinos love to eat.

Moreover, this is an indigenous vegetable with a distinctive taste. Maybe because it was my first time to taste it. “Journeying James Tour” cooked for us during our first lunch in Baler.

Just a heads up, Ferns may have mild amounts of fern toxin but so far there is no major toxic effect are recorded. In fact, Paco consists with nutritional value and it is beneficial due to Minerals also that you can get it. One of the Top mineral content is the calcium which is very helpful for our bones. Second is phosphorus that will assist our bodies to burn carbohydrates and fats to convert is into energy and creating protein. Third mineral is Iron which helps in distributing oxygen in the body via our blood. Finally, it is abundant with Thiamine or simply Vitamin B which is important for our nervous system.

The fern is perfect for salad or ginataan. It is also best if you are going to steam it and serve it with Bagoong. There are lots of recipes wherein you can experiment to capture the best taste using Paco as main ingredient. But in our lunch, it was steamed and served as a side dish with fried fish and Bagoong (salted fish). At first, I was hesitant to eat it because it tastes a bit of bitter taste but when you eat it with Binagoong then that’s the time you can appreciate it.  Maybe next time, I gonna taste another Fern menu.

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