Sunday, November 15, 2009

Bitter gourds (Momordica charantia)

Bitter gourds (Momordica charantia) is also known as Karela, bitter melon. The root, leaves and fruit from this plant are used as vegetables and in some medicinal uses. The plant is native from either China or India.

Preparing to serve as food
Slice bitter gourds into circles or lengthwise, and remove the seeds and pulp. Parboil them before cook, to remove the bitterness. They can be then stuffed, steamed, stir-fried, or pickled.

Special dishes using bitter gourds
  • combine prepared gourds with black, fermented soy beans to use in curries.
  • green leaves and young shoots are also edible after parboiling and stir-fried like greens.
  • pickled bitter gourds can be used in making special chutney.

Medicinal uses
  • Recent research suggests that, more than 22 medicinally active substances has been identified in bitter gourds, which are useful in treating diabetes as well as other diseases such as cancer, ulcer, hepatitis, measles, HIV and immune disorders.
  • Bitter gourds contains Gurmarin, a polypeptide considered to be similar to bovine insulin, which has been shown in experimental studies to achieve a positive sugar regulating effect by suppressing the neural response to sweet taste stimuli.
  • Diabetic patients can take the juice of bitter gourds. The seeds of bitter melon also can be added to food in a powdered form.
  • The use of Bitter gourds during pregnancy is not recommended.