We are growing goya or bittergourd as it is known ( momordica charantia or momordica chinensis) in school this term and each of us have to bring home our pot for the summer vacation. We then harvest it and get to eat it at home.

The plant is native of China and India, and has been used by indigenous people of the Amazon and Brazil as well.

goya flowers

The plant, a vine, grows 10 cm a day. And it bears a vegetable shaped like a gourd before the flower even drops off, see below…

goya flower turning into fruit

Many Japanese and Chinese like to eat this vegetable stir-fried with meat like beef or pork and sometimes with egg (you strip the thick skin and the core first and cut it in rings or strips). It tastes bitter, I don’t like it at all but all parents will tell you it’s very good for your health.

goya vegetable

Gourdin is what makes the vegetable bitter, it has also many other potent medicinal substances.

Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2006

 

IN BLOOM
Goya (Bitter gourd)

 

The angry housewife, Smashing and beating the eggs: Bitter gourds for lunch.
By Linda Inoki

If you are feeling hot and bothered you could reach for a cold, fizzy drink — or a lumpy, green goya. In Okinawa, bitter gourd (or bitter melon) is traditionally eaten in summer when it is valued as a “medicine for the heat.” Certainly, bitter gourds are packed with goodness. They are about seven times higher in vitamin C than lemons, contain twice the potassium of bananas, and offer lots of other vitamins and minerals too. The only drawback is the taste, which is extremely bitter. That is why it is usually eaten with scrambled eggs or tofu, in the famous stir-fry dish called goya champuru. Older islanders recall that nearly every family used to have its goya vine growing in the yard. The gourds are picked when still young and green. If they are left to ripen they turn orange and split open to reveal red seeds. The small flowers are pale yellow, trumpet-shaped and wrinkled. This is typical of the Cucurbit family of plants, which includes melons, pumpkins and cucumbers. In the wild, this strong vine (Mormordica charantia) will run up trees and scramble over rocks, covering a large area with its five-lobed leaves. In recent years the vegetable has become more popular in mainland Japan, where it is usually known as nigauri (bitter melon). Originally, the plant hails from Southeast Asia, where it is indispensable in cuisine and as an herbal medicine. By the way, if you want to try cooking bitter gourds, remember to split them lengthwise and remove the core and white seeds, as these are inedible. — Japan Times Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2006

More about the uses of bittergourd (or bittermelon its other name)here, here and here

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: