IN THE 1990s, at the old Agri-Kapihan which we started in 1986, Dr. Concepcion Lizada demonstrated how to make the equivalent of French Fries with the use of Saba banana. Dr. Lizada was then head of the Postharvest Research and Training Center (PHRTC) in Los Baños.
SABA FRIES HENCEFORTH – Dr. Lizada called it Pinoy Fries. We have not seen any local entrepreneur picking up the idea so we are bringing it out here in the hope that some enterprising soul might pick it up not only for his own benefit but also for the consumers as well as the farmers. (Henceforth, we will call it Saba Fries to be more specific. Most Filipinos can relate to Saba).
SABA IS EVERYWHERE – Saba Fries is similar to French Fries but Dr. Lizada thinks it is much better, more affordable, and the raw materials are available throughout the year in practically every place in the Philippines.
FULLY DEVELOPED BUT UNRIPE – SabaFries is made of fully developed but unripe fruit of the Saba banana. The fruit is peeled, sliced in much the same way as the potato for French Fries, and then deep fried in cooking oil. There’s no need to add anything – just pure sliced Saba banana. You don’t have to add any sugar or salt. Very good for advocates of organically produced food.
CRISP & CRUNCHY – Saba Fries tastes great. It is crisp and crunchy even when it has cooled down. French Fries, on the other hand, usually becomes limp and soggy after it has cooled down. Not the Saba Fries, according to Dr. Lizada.
COULD BE MADE AT HOME – The product can also be made at home. The raw materials could be prepared beforehand and stored in the refrigerator for future frying. It is just a simple technology but the impact and significance can be tremendous because it is something that can be made for home use or it can be made into a commercial product offered to the public in restaurants, food stands and the like.
SNACK IN SCHOOLS – Saba Fries could be an ideal snack offering in schools because it is certainly much more nutritious than the ubiquitous junk foods. It should be a hit wherever there are sports activities and in crowded food courts in shopping centers.
COULD TRIGGER OPPORTUNITIES – What this means is that enterprising individuals not only in the city but also in the provinces could make thriving businesses out of this simple technology. It could trigger better income opportunities for banana growers themselves.
ACCIDENTAL – Saba Fries, by the way, was discovered by accident by specialists of the PHRTC in the course of their research on postharvest handling of fruits. They have liked the product, and they would like to disseminate the know-how to the public as widely as possible.