Sinigang was on the menu last night. But before I could enjoy the sour, salty deliciousness that was this soup, I had to contend with the unexpected fight that the gabi (taro) put up before it allowed itself to be dropped into the pot.
So there I was, happily peeling the skin off the taro roots, when I felt a minor itch on my right hand. A tiny red mark had appeared. I thought nothing of it, and continued to peel.
Approximately 10 minutes later, the itching worsened. It felt like a bazillion little monsters were scratching my skin with their mutant chicken claws.
While breathing fire.
I tried washing my hands, but it was still super itchy. The tiny red spot grew to be about an inch in diameter. With the obvious deterioration of my condition, I did the only logical thing:
From what I read, it turns out that gabi contains calcium oxalate, which is poisonous when raw*. Wait, what? If it has poison, why are we eating it?
And please, for the sake of all that should not itch, what can be done to get rid of the itchiness? Someone posted in a forum that tamarind breaks down the crystals of the calcium oxalate to render it harmless.
Since I used a sinigang mix, I did not have any tamarind around. I thought maybe the mix might work too. It should have some tamarind in it, right? I rubbed some on my hands. It didn’t work. Then I thought maybe it is the acidity in the tamarind that breaks down the toxins. I had some calamansi in the ref, so I tried those as a substitute. Didn’t work either.
Finally, I just resorted to washing my hands as thoroughly as possible. About five times. Eventually, the itchiness went away and the redness subsided. I’m not sure what helped. Maybe it was just time and time really does heal all wounds.
After my hands felt better and I cooked the sinigang, I made sure to eat the gabi that attacked me.
*Cooking breaks down the toxins so gabi eaters, do not fret. Just stay away from raw gabi and all is well.