Bitter Melon, (mojmordica charantia), can also be called bitter gourd, or balsam pear. It is a bumpy and gnarled gourd that looks like a pale and shriveled cucumber. It grows to be 3 to 10 inches on a vine that grows to 22- 23 feet. It is grown China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, India and the Philippines traditionally, though now it is cultivated in many places.
The bitter melon has white flesh that is rather dry. Inside are numerous white seeds. The skin is green turning yellow or orange as they mature. The greener they are, the younger they are, and the bitterer they are. The bitter melon gets its bitterness from a compound known as quinine.
If the astringent and bitter sensation needs to be lessened, the seeds can be removed and the flesh salted (like a cucumber) and allowed to drain. Blanching the flesh also helps or also to pickle it.
Bitter melons can be found in Asian American markets. It is an annual vegetable plant related to the gourd, melon and cucumber. It is found in tropical and subtropical climates. It was first used for medicinal properties. The Chinese use it in cooking for soup. Indians use it a pre-course beginning of the meal. It can used for stuffing, and pairs well with spicy ingredients.
Currently, there is some research out that is claiming the bitter melon can help type two diabetes, and for the help of prevention of Breast Cancer.
Bitter melons are in season from April to September.
© 2011 Chef Jennifer M. Denlinger All rights reserved
Cite me: Denlinger, J. (2011, June 6). Bitter Melon. Retrieved from: FloridaChef.net