What is a Bitter Melon?
- This bumpy-skinned gourd is bitter in taste due to its high quinine content. It is native to the cuisines of tropical south China, southeast Asia, and India where it is pickled. Originally, bitter melon, or foo qua, was used as medicine believed to purify the blood. Other names for bitter melon include balsam pear, bitter cucumber, and bitter gourd. Indian Bitter Melon is another variety with bumpier – almost spiky – dark green skin.
How to Eat
- Slice lengthwise to remove inner membrane and seeds. Sprinkle with salt and let sit for 5-10 minutes, then rinse to help tame the bitterness. Parboil or steam before stir-frying. Also delicious stuffed with ground meat then steamed, or add to a soup or stew.
- Good source of fiber, excellent source of vitamin C, provides vitamin A, and also rich in folate.
How to Choose
- Choose firm, bruise-free vegetables.
How to Store
- Keep refrigerated, unwashed, and use within 3 days.
When are they in season?
Where are they grown?
- U.S.A. and Mexico