(New) Northerly Pickles, Green Mango and Wild Banana

Those of you who have been to up north have eaten inartem. These are various fruit, pickled in a sour (sometimes sweet-sour) liquid of sukang Iloco. They are perfect as a healthy snack, as a side dish to something savory or oily. The frugal Ilocano sometimes eats these as as pulutan (drinking chow).

Above is the wild banana or balayang. Our everyday Manila bananas have very minute seeds (those tiny black specks). Very few varieites in the world contain seeds that are large enough to examine, and the balayang (Musa errans) is one. These "native" wild ones are utilized by cooking them before they are ripe. For inartem, they are soaked in brine and rinsed repeatedly to remove astringency. They result in a very interesting, intriguing texture.

The green mango inartem is similar to our Tagalog buro, but with the pungency of sukang Iloco, and without the saltiness. It is made with the pink-skinned "Hawaiian" variety that is widely grown in the region, a testament to the cultural exchange that has happened due to the wave of Ilocano migration into Hawaii.

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