Monday, 13 November 2017

Bitter gourd/melon ~ what a bitter vegetable!

I first heard about bitter gourd/melon when Nil from The Little House by the Lake wrote a post about Fried Bitter Gourd Salad a while back. I didn't realise you could buy them in Australia but a couple of weeks ago I noticed a strange bumpy looking cucumber at the Farmers Market and asked if it happened to be bitter. The lady who served me said it certainly was so I bought one and she popped another one in my bag for free. I wonder if she was having trouble selling them as other shoppers may have come across these before and tasted them :-)


Well....as I am set in my ways at my age and take a while to get used to something new, the bitter gourd just sat in the fridge for a week or so before I decided the time had come to do some further investigations. So I opened it up and it was full of big red seeds! Then I wasn't sure what exactly you were supposed to eat and whether it needed to be peeled and could you possibly eat those huge seeds.



So I asked on The Home Maker's Forum if anyone had eaten them before and Nil came to the rescue. Then I checked out YouTube and found a couple of really informative videos on Amazing health benefits of bitter gourd/melon as well as How to cook bitter melon - Karela made by an Indian lady who certainly knew how to incorporate this vegetable into her cooking. Apparently people with Diabetes 2 can lower their blood sugar by eating bitter gourds but need to let their doctor know as they can be quite effective. However pregnant women need to be careful due to side effects for them.





Just look at the covering on those seeds. I must say I love the colour but, according to the Indian lady on YouTube, the gourds are overripe when the seeds turn red and it is preferable to pick the gourd earlier. She also explains what to look for when buying this veggie. 

 


I was planning on writing a post on bitter gourds today and I had a chuckle when I noticed that Nil has written one also. She has just made Raw Bitter Gourd Salad so, if you are interested in learning more about this vegetable then check out her blog. Apparently it is used frequently in Asian cuisine. 



Here are some tips on how to grow bitter gourd/melon How to Grow Bitter Melon and if you would like to buy some seeds they are available from Green Harvest. 

I am really not sure whether to plant these seeds as I don't know if I could get used to the bitterness. However, if you have eaten them before perhaps you could share your recipes as there must be lots of ways to make them palatable as I believe bitter foods are quite good for you.

Have a wonderful week everyone!






















11 comments:

  1. interesting, will check out Nil's blog too
    thanx for sharing

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  2. After reading Nil’s post yesterday I did a quick google search and it seems Woolworths have something similar - bitter melons. Not so bitter. Next time I’m in Woolies I will pick one up.
    What did you end up doing with your bitter gourd in the end?
    Kylie

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    Replies
    1. I added some to stir fry, Kylie. I will try sprinkling with salt next time and see if that reduces the bitterness.

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  3. Thank you for the mention, Chel.
    Once I watched a YouTube video and made stuffed bitter gourd. The spices used in that recipe reduced the bitterness a lot, but it was a lot of work. So I made it only once. You can find it on YouTube by searching for "Stuffed Karela (Bitter Melon) Recipe by Manjula"

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    Replies
    1. Nil I don't think I will go to that much effort :-) I will probably just use it as a salad or in a stir fry.

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    2. lol true, it's way too much work for just one dish. :)

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  4. I discovered bitter cucumber (carkro) when living in Nepal, but after one taste I decided I didn't like it and would never like it. The locals seem to love it, but they start eating it when very young (as babies). I was always told that it was good for the liver, but with the vast range of available delicious vegetables, this is one that I leave on the shelf for others to eat. :)

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    1. The Indian lady on the video called it Karela, Sally. Obviously there are a few different varieties. It tastes so bitter though I doubt I could get used to it.

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  5. This is really interesting Chel. I'll have to look out for them at our Farmer's Market although I don't know if they grow in the Tropics.I'll read NIl's post and see what she is doing with them. It is always good to try something new.Pauline

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    1. Pauline, I think they would grow them up there. I saw some today in one of the fruit and veggie shops in town. I had never noticed them before.

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