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Monday, 10 October 2016

Growing Spiky Bitter Gourd In My Garden.

I first saw this spiky bitter gourd or bitter melon in Fraser's Hill about 3 months ago. I haven't seen this spiky bitter gourd before and instead of being deterred by the weird spiky appearance, I got curious and was attracted to it. The plant was growing along the fence and I found a small over-ripe fruit on the ground. I picked it up hoping to find some seeds in it for me to take home to germinate. Once we reached the bungalow we were staying in, I opened the fruit and I was very happy to find 3 precious matured seeds inside.
These were my first 2 fruits harvested from my garden, from the plants germinated from the seeds I brought back from Fraser's Hill. I waited for the first fruit to ripen to get good quality seeds for future germination.
2 seedlings germinated from the seeds brought back from Fraser's Hill.
I planted the seedlings in a big pot. I have to tie temporary strings for the plants to climb as they grow.
It was exciting to see the pretty bright yellow flower and the thin long fruit forming.
The yellow flower has dried up and waiting for the fruit to grow.
Pretty green leaves.
The young fruits are dark green in colour.

So happy to see the plants bearing more fruits.
Bitter gourds or bitter melons are very popular in Asian countries. When I was young, I do not eat bitter gourds because I found them very bitter. But as I grow older, I later acquired the liking for bitter gourds and now I love them.
According to the elderly people, anything bitter is good for health. Bitter gourds have many health benefits. They are commonly used for treating diabettes and for regulating blood sugar level.
Bitter gourds are low in calories and they are also rich in high fiber and vitamins A, C & etc.
Since I planted them in a flower pot, I didn't expect them to be so fruitful!
The fruits are more bitter when they are green. As the fruits grow more matured or ripen with yellow or orange colour, the bitter taste will be slightly reduced.
I used normal garden soil with good drainage. I water the plants once a day. If the weather is very hot, then I will water them twice a day. I feed them with fertilizers about once every 2 weeks. For this round, the plants didn't encountered any pests problem.
When the colour of the fruits changed to a lighter shade or light yellow, I harvested the fruits from the plant. It will remain fresh if kept in the fridge for a few days to a week. But the colour will change from green to yellow if kept too long in the fridge.
The longest fruit harvested from my plants (grown in pots) is about 9 inches long. The ones I saw in Fraser's Hill are much longer. probably about a foot long.
A closer look to see the spikes on the fruit.
Compared to the other smaller specie found in the local market, this spiky specie is more bitter. If you want to reduce the bitter taste, you can salt it for a few minutes after slicing and then rinse off the salt before cooking them. You can also blanch the slices in hot water for a few seconds, then place them in ice water before cooking.
The fruits have to be cooked. They can be roasted, deep fried, stuffed, stir fried, cooked in curries, in omelettes, soups or steamed. In their raw state, they can be juiced.
Once the fruits are matured, the membrane covering the seeds will turn red.
These are removed from the fruits. I removed and discarded the red membrane called arils and kept the dried seeds for germinating. 
Some parts of the fruits are beginning to turn yellow or orange. 
For cooking, I sliced the fruits thinly. I didn't salt or blanch the slices because we didn't mind the bitter taste.
These seeds were collected from the fruits and they will be used for future germination. Some of these seeds will be given to my gardening friends who have already booked them.

Plant the good seeds of righteousness,

and you will reap a crop of my love;

plow the hard ground of your hearts,

for now is the time to seek the Lord,

that he may come and shower salvation upon you.

(Hosea 10:12, The Living Bible-TLB)

52 comments:

  1. Nancy, I felt so excited reading about your success growing bitter gourd from free seeds!! For me, there's nothing better that brings much joy than when you see the seeds you sow turns fruitful:) Well done Nancy:) If only we live near you, I would be knocking at your door to ask for a couple of bitter gourd seeds too:)They are very lovely veggie to grow!

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    1. Thank you, Annie. I love to grow and try out new plants just for the joy and reward of the harvest. If we are neighbours, I would love to pass the seeds to you.

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  2. Wow that is a fruitful plant all right! So nice to see that number of gourds growing on the plant.

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    1. Thank you, Stacy. It was a bountiful harvest from a very fruitful plant!

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  3. Hi, I love to read this post. I don't know why. Maybe it bring back memories of growing bitter gourd long time ago. Thank you for the sharing

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    1. Thank you, Haniffah. So nice of you to visit and comment on my blog. Have a wonderful day!

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  4. I do not have green fingers, but i loves seeing plants....

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    1. Thank you, Sharon. You are welcome to enjoy my gardening posts. Have a great day!

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  5. People said the spikier the bitter gourd is, the more bitter it is. Not sure. Usually I buy and eat those not so spiky and common bitter gourd. ^^

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    1. I am also not sure about the spikier the more bitter thing. I haven't seen this type of spiky bitter gourd sold in the market. Those sold are usually the dwarf Indian and Chinese bitter gourds.

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  6. Wah...these bittergourd have a very weird appearance and yet they are also beautiful! Your had a good harvest and will have constant supply of bittergourds :)

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    1. Thank you, Phong Hong. After the first round of fruits, the plant has stopped fruiting. Now I will have to grow new plants to get my supply of bitter gourds.

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  7. First time I saw these spiky ones! They reminded me of dinasaurs.. hahahaa.. thanks for giving me one to try!

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    1. Ha ha! I was so tempted to name them Dinosaur Bitter Gourd. It is too bitter for you?

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  8. Couldn't find seeds this summer over here or I would also planted one. Your bitter gourds look SUPERB!

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    1. Thank you, Angie. Bitter gourds are easy to grow and easy to maintain.

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  9. Muito interessante, desconhecia.
    Um abraço e boa semana.
    Andarilhar

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    1. Thank you, Francisco. Have a wonderful day!

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  10. The inside is interesting.

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    1. Thank you, Tom. Have a beautiful day!

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  11. This is really great! Thanks for sharing.

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  12. I have not seen these before. I listened to a podcast recently about how good bitter vegetables are for digestion, and how Americans no longer have these things in their diet. Other countries do though. I don't mind a little bitter but some things (like hops tea) are a little much for me.

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    1. Thank you, Lisa. Bitter gourds are usually eaten by the elderly people. Most young people are not so fond of bitter gourds. Good to eat bitter gourds for its many health benefits.

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  13. what a great post!!! it is so much more rewarding to start any plant with seeds, it looks like you are doing very well!!!!

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    1. Thank you, Debbie. When a plant grows from seed and does well, I will be so overjoyed!

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  14. I have not seen these before, you certainly did an amazing job growing them.

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    1. Thank you, Mamas. Now I have many seeds to grow my bitter gourds plants.

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  15. You really do have a green thumb, Nancy!

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    1. Thank you, Christine. Bitter gourds are very easy to grow and maintain. Have a lovely day!

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  16. You are so good with vegetables, plants and flowers, Nancy! I love the colours of the bitter gourd!

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    1. Thank you, Linda. My rewards are the fresh harvest!

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  17. I've never even heard of this gourd before. You do have an amazing green thumb though.

    Have a fabulous day Nancy. ☺

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    1. Thank you, Sandee. It was great fun and interesting some thing new and getting to harvest the fruits. Have a wonderful day!

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  18. I have never seen such a plant. And to see you growing it, and how it grows, is so special! What a sight! We do not have this fruit here. I wonder if the spikes detract the animals from eating it? The inside really shocked me too; really different from the rest with the big colorful seeds. Perfect bible verse for today!

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    1. Thank you, Ginny. It was wonderful to see them grow and received the harvest. And it was wonderful to be able to share my experience and photos with you. Have a great day!

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  19. Wow what fun to grow these they are not only attractive but edible too which is great. Have a good week Diane

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    1. Thank you, Diane. The gourds do look weird, reminds me of dinosaurs but they are great, healthy veggie. Have a good week too!

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  20. You educated me. My husband likes to grow bitter gourds and the leaves are so pretty in the yard. I didn't know they were that good for us!

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    1. You are most welcome. I haven't tried growing the Chinese bitter gourd which has a milder taste, not very bitter. One day, I will try. Have a good day!

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  21. I like to eat this type of bittergourd. You did well growing them. You are a pro at gardening.

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    1. Thank you, Mun for your nice compliment. No, no, I am not a pro. The plants just happened to grow well and I am so blessed to see them grow and fruit. Have a great day!

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  22. Replies
    1. The bitter gourds are not good looking but rich with health benefits.

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  23. Interesting not something I have ever heard of or seen

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    1. It was my first time seeing this plant during my holiday in Fraser's Hill.

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  24. It's a different kind Nancy and has smaller fruits.

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    1. Yes, Lei. These are the smaller specie. The fruits I saw in the highland was longer but the ones grown in my garden were shorter.

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  25. I have never seen them before😀

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    1. I have seen other species, this one is my first time.

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