Fresh Bitter Melon
Approximately 2-4 melons per lb. (about 10lbs.)
Generally available year round.
USA or Mexico, depending on availability.
Bitter melon (aka bitter gourd, foo qua, caraille/carilley) is an extremely bitter vegetable with a texture and appearance evoking cucumbers and chayote. It is consumed throughout Asia & Latin America as well as in the Caribbean. It is rich in vitamins A, B (1-3) & C as well as iron, potassium, and beta carotene.
Store bitter melons in a plastic bag in your refrigerator.
Three to five days, less once sliced.
RECIPES & TIPS
Bitter melon is often stir fried in China. It is also eaten in Indian food, Pakistani dishes, and many Southeast Asian cuisines. The seeds are often removed prior to cooking.
In addition to stir frying, other uses for bitter gourds include pickling, stuffing & baking, braising, steaming and adding to omelets. Common flavor pairings include fermented black beans, curries, coconut milk, tomatoes, turmeric, hummus, okra, eggplant, onions, garlic, potatoes, yogurt, chili peppers and cumin.
To rein in bitter melon’s bitter flavor, try slicing and salting it for ten minutes or soaking in salted water for an hour, then rinsing prior to cooking (as you would an eggplant). Blanching these gourds, then shocking in an ice bath can also make them more mild.