The foliage and shoots are also edible. The fruits are delicious in broths, soups, and stir-fries. Bitter melon is rich in quinine, which imparts a distinct, mildly bitter flavor to the fruit. In traditional medicine, it is also used to treat diabetes and digestive disorders. On vigorous vines, this variety produces 8-10″ long, green, thin-skinned fruit. The slightly astringent fruits should be harvested green and when under 8″ long and 3″ in diameter; once they begin to turn orange and ripen, their flavor becomes less desirable. Fruits are best prepared by removing the inner pith and seeds, slicing them into half moons or rounds, tossing them in salt, and allowing them to settle for 30 to 45 minutes to draw out bitterness and excess moisture.
Bitter melon, or bitter gourd or karela, is a unique and distinctive vegetable with a bumpy, oblong shape and a green or light green color. As the name suggests, it has a bitter taste, which can vary in intensity depending on the variety and ripeness of the fruit. To reduce the bitterness of bitter melon, it is often soaked in salt water before cooking or combined with other flavorful ingredients in recipes.
Popular cooking methods include stir-frying, sautéing, or stuffing the melon with seasoned fillings. Bitter melon may not be to everyone’s taste due to its bitter flavor. Still, for those who appreciate its unique taste and health benefits, it can be a delightful and nutritious addition to their culinary repertoire.
What is bitter melon good for?
Bitter melon benefits blood sugar regulation, weight management, digestive health, antioxidant support, and anti-inflammatory effects.
Is it okay to eat bitter melon?
Yes, it is generally safe to eat bitter melon, but not everyone may enjoy its strong bitter taste.