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Monday, 6 February 2017

Growing, Harvesting & Uses Of Karela (Bitter Gourd).

After having successfully grown the spiky bitter gourd with the seeds brought back from Fraser's Hill, and having enjoyed a good harvest, I was very encouraged to grow the next batch. I germinated the seeds I have collected from some ripen fruits from my own plants after the old plants were pulled out. They are easy to grow and easy to take care. If you are interested to read about what has been shared in my previous post concerning the spiky bitter gourd, you can click here and also click here for the Wild Indian Bitter Gourd post.
Some of the common names for bitter gourd are bitter melon, bitter squash, balsam pear or karela. Its scientific name is Momordica charantia.
The spiky bitter gourd seedlings are ready to be transferred to the big pots.
Indian bitter gourd is very much smaller than the Chinese bitter gourd and it is much more bitter than the Chinese bitter gourd.
The Indian bitter gourd or karela commonly sold in the market or stores are rounder, shorter with smooth ridges. The ones growing in my garden are longer and have jagged or spiky ridges.
You can see the spiky ridges and this fruit was about 8 inches long.
I get to harvest the karela or bitter gourds every 2 to 3 days. I have to watch for the colour to change from dark green to light green. Once it started to turn light green, it is harvested to prevent it from ripening further.
These bitter gourds have many health and medicinal benefits. Sometimes I will boil soup using these bitter gourd with pork ribs or chicken, carrot and goji berries or wolf berries or kei chee in Cantonese.
Besides soup, I also sliced them finely for frying egg omelette. I have also used them to fry with spicy prawn paste (sambal belacan).
Sometimes I will boil these bitter gourds with a little goji berries and red dates in water to drink.
The raw juice of these bitter gourds is claimed to be effective in lowering blood sugar. Sometimes, I will juice these bitter gourds with green apples for hubby and myself.

Look after each other so that not one of you

will fail to find God's best blessings.

Watch out that no bitterness takes root among you,

for as it springs up it causes deep trouble,

hurting many in their spiritual lives.

(Hebrews 12:15, The Living Bible-TLB)

59 comments:

  1. Wonderful post and lovely photos, and some valuable information on the bitter gourd. I love the colour and pattern of it. Thank you so much for sharing.

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    1. Thank you, Linda. I was attracted to its pattern in the first place.

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  2. This is the PERFECT bible verse to go with today's post!! I have never seen these in the grocery store, so I think we may not have any here. Maybe in specialty markets they would sell them. Your omelet looks beautiful! How on earth did you flip it? I tried to flip a big one tonight and it all fell apart.

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    1. Thank you, Ginny. Actually there is a break in the omelette but was well hidden. Lol!

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  3. I love bittergourd in spite of the bitter taste. This variety I seldom see. It sort of reminds me of the movie Aliens hah..hah..

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    1. Yes, many of my friends dare not try this bitter taste because of its bitterness and pattern. Alien? Ha ha!

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  4. ...they look a bit spooky!

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    1. Ha ha ha! Now I know why my friends dare not eat these spiky bitter gourd! Spooky! No wonder....

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  5. I envy your success in growing your very own bittergourd..there's nothing better than harvesting your own delicious food from your own backyard:) YUM!

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    1. Thank you, Annie. Now I am slowly switching from non edible garden to planting more edibles in my garden.

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  6. Interesting post my dear, thank you for sharing :-)

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  7. I love bittergourd especially when it is fried... Happy to see you harvesting it.

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    1. Thank you, Angel. It was a good harvest!

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  8. I love to eat these bitter gourds and I can even eat them raw just like that. Bitter but delicious!

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    1. Oh, I have tried eating them raw. The only raw form is drinking the juice.

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  9. Replies
    1. I only came to know about this plant about a year ago. Have a good day!

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  10. What a great harvest. I found your post today most interesting these gourds are not something that I ever come across before so it was a joy to learn so much. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thank you, Mamas for your kind comments. I am enjoying the harvest.

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  12. I have no green fingers, but I am happy when seeing plants...

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    Replies
    1. Looking and enjoying the plants can be very calming and relaxing.

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  13. I've never seen those plantes, very interesting! :)
    xxx
    S
    https://s-fashion-avenue.blogspot.it/

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Silvia. This is a very interesting plant.

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  14. I miss bitter gourds! My mom loves to make claypots and stifries with them in hot humid summer time.

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    1. Thank you, Angie. Next, I will try cooking in clay pot. It is cooling for the hot humit weather.

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  15. Clap! Clap! Clap! Nancy, you really have green fingers. However, bitter gourd is one that I shy away from, although I know it has many health benefits.

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    1. Once upon a time, I don't eat bitter gourd. But as I grow older, I acquire a taste and liking for bitter gourd.

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  16. Replies
    1. Thank you, William. Reminds me of dinosaur's spikes.

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  17. You do have an amazing green thumb. It's good that you like something that has great health benefits.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. Thank you, Sandee. Now I am slowly switching to grow more health food.

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  18. Bitter gourd is healthy and cooling, I like it with soup or fried with egg

    Didn't know that it has so many names

    Have a wonderful week ahead Nancy

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    1. Thank you, Libby. When cooked in soup or fried with egg, it is not so bitter. Have a wonderful week!

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  19. This is the first I've actually seen them growing on a plant. Thanks Nancy.

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    Replies
    1. When we grow them, we get to see the plants they come from and to me it is a very rewarding hobby.

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  20. Good for you, Nancy! It is such an unusual plant but clearly very good to eat!

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    1. Thank you, Christine. And I like it because it is very easy to grow and fast growing.

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  21. How does it taste Nancy? It's a different looking one from our native "ampalaya" here.

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    1. It is very bitter.. but once you develop taste of it you'll love to eat it.. moreover it has great food value..

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    2. Yes, it is very bitter to those who are not used to it.

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  22. This is one of favorite food.. Last we unable to grow in our backyard garden.. we usually either deep fry it. Or we make curry with bitter gourd and potato.. and eat with rice.. :)

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    1. I have seen the Indian snack shops selling these crispy deep fried snacks. Some Indian rice shops also serve it as one of their dish. They taste good.

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  23. These are are so interesting...I would love to have some to grow.

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    1. Growing our own can be very interesting. Have a good day!

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  24. These are very pretty. But I'm scared by them being more bitter than normal bitter gourd. I better stick to those!

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    1. You will need to get used to the bitterness. Some may not like it at all.

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  25. You had me at 'easy to grow', Nancy. Now I'm curious to plant a bitter gourd...will need to figure out where I can fit it on my balcony..haha.

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    1. They are climbers and the vines will go all over the place. But you can train them to focus on a certain place.

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  26. Hubby says that i cook karels best among he knows [even his mom]
    i learn to cook it from mom and whenever i cook i overeat my meal due to tempting taste of it.
    i never saw it's plant[thank you for sharing] here it is summer veg .

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    1. It is the same with me. When we cook, we tend to overeat.

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  27. Thank you for sharing this very interesting bitter gourd. I have seen them on sale in a supermarket I enjoy going to and often wondered the correct way to use them.

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    1. Now that you know how to use them, maybe you can try to have a taste of these bitter gourd.

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