Bitter Melon– People said: Why are you so bitter? I said: You are so sweet!

Bitter melon or bitter gourd or bitter squash, is a widely grown vegetable in Asia.  My whole family, including the young ones, love bitter melon.  If it is bitter, why do we like it so much?  For a long time, I ate bitter melon but would not attempt to cook it, because I thought it is time-consuming to follow all the steps making bitter melon a delicious dish.  In the recent years, there have been lots of talks among the general public that bitter melon has proven to have many health benefits, including weight loss, controlling blood glucose, anti-cancer etc.   While I do believe in the benefits of bitter melon to our health, the purpose of this post is not to convince anyone of its benefits, but to show how a bitter melon can be sweet….or  bitter-sweet!

I always like to eat bitter melon as my mother had made it so tasty that I never thought that it was bitter at all.  Before I introduce my mother’s recipes in cooking bitter melon (my next post) , I would like to introduce to you how to cut and prepare the bitter melon for cooking.  I only learned to do this in the last few years.  I am not a pro, but for those of you who have never touched a bitter melon, the instructions may be helpful to you.

Step 1:  Cut the melons first into halves, and then quarters.

Step 2:  Use a spoon to remove the seeds and the white pulp.

Step 3:  Cut into small pieces.

Step 4:  Bring a pan of water to a boil.  Add the cut bitter melon, and boil for about 3 mins.  This procedure is used to decrease the bitterness and to soften the melon.  If you don’t want it to be too soft, decrease the time of boiling to 1 to 2 min.

Step 5:  Remove the bitter melon pieces from the pan and drain, and let them stand.

Step 6:  If you are not cooking it tonight, refrigerate all the pieces.  As it takes so many steps to prepare the bitter melon, for busy people, it is advisable to separate the preparation from the cooking, so that you will have ample time to handle.

In my next post, I will introduce one to two bitter melon recipes to you.

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