Sweet, Succulent Singkamas

By Michelle Domocol

Back to Inflourish: Cebu Blog

November is time to plant one of my favorite snacks: singkamas. I like preparing eating fresh sinkgkamas slices. They’re naturally sugary and crunchy. When I was younger, my lola would slice a bunch of singkamas and store it in a big pitcher.

I loved it so much that I sold bags of Lola’s sliced singkamas snacks to neighborhood kids in Cebu. It was the best and most fun way to share good food, learn about Filipino currency, practice Cebuano and make new friends. Lola set up a cute wooden table right outside the local basketball court and I sold fresh singkamas to my friends and new customers.

How do you eat singkamas—as fresh, raw slices? in salads? in stir-fries? If you want your own supply of singkamas, it’s quite easy to grow in a small space, apartment balcony, or modest backyard. Here are some cultivation techniques to get you started.

Photo 1. Singkamas pruning and pot dimensions.
  1. Prepare large pots or a raised bed. For instance, the pot could be 11 inches wide x 14 inches (Photo 1).
  2. Place the containers in a sunny part of the garden and fill them with well-draining soil. Mix the soil with compost to increase soil fertility.
  3. Plant the seeds 2 inches deep. Seeds can be planted 8 inches apart. Seedlings should emerge in a week.
  4. Singkamas develops large, fast-growing INEDIBLE leaves and vines (Photo 2, A & D). The seed pods are also inedible. Support the vine with a trellis (Photo 1).

Photo 2. Harvested singkamas with leaves (A); seeds (B); washed roots (C); pods (D).
  1. Prune the flowers and leaves so that the plant is only 3 feet high (Photo 1). This ensures most of the nutrients and energy are feeding the singkamas roots you plan to harvest.
  2. After 4 months, the singkamas roots will be ready for harvest (Photo 2, A). They’ll look like fat, cream colored turnips (Photo 2, C). Cut off all the vines and leaves and wash the singkamas roots. You can store them in the fridge or freezer for future meals.
  3. If you’re feeling ambitious and have more space, you can add other complementary November plants like beans and ginger in the singkamas garden.

Till next post, hope you feel inspired to plan your own starter singkamas garden.

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