Saturday, November 12, 2011

Bitter Melons

Bitter Melons are a beautiful vining plant that many researchers are finding to have incredible health benefits. There is a lot of research in Cancer prevention and Diabetes using Bitter Melons.

Here is a good website that summarizes the benefits and ongoing research. My Dad has cancer and we have been making Bitter juice for him all summer. He loves it and thinks it is helping him immensely. The juice by itself is hard to drink, but add a couple of ounces to other fruit juice and it is pretty good. There are varieties from different parts of Asia. The ones I grow came from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. They refer to it as Delica Thorn Bitter Melon. Whether you want it for Cancer, Diabetes or other health benefits, it is a beautiful plant to grow.

A mature plant growing on tomato baskets. It is an aggressive vine and produces about 1-2 gallons of juice per plant.

Beautiful flowers are a bonus.

Here is a young fruit developing.

We seem to have about 5-6 fruit ripen at a time from our two vines. This is enough to make about 30 ounces of juice each time we process the fruit.

You want to harvest the fruit right before it starts turning orange. About 12" long.

Soak the fruit in water and clean all dirt off the skin.

The fruit has beautiful seeds inside varying from yellow to a deep orange.

Cut them in half to remove the seeds. Remove the stem and any blemishes on the skin.

Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and insides.

Cut the fruit into chunks to pack them into a blender or juicer. Fill the voids with water up about 2/3 full with water. The water helps liquify the melon and separate the juice from the pulpy flesh.

This is what the juiced product looks like.

Filter out the green juice with a fine strainer leaving behind the concentrated Bitter Melon juice. It is a beautiful green color.

The final product!

Shake well each time you add a few ounces to other sweeter fruit juice. Keep it refrigerated and it should last a couple of weeks. I have not been able to determine what a days dose should be for various health benefits. My Dad drinks a couple of ounces a day.

Don't forget to save the seeds. Dry them out for a couple of weeks on paper towels and then put them in a container for storage until late Spring. Good Luck! I think this beautiful plant holds a lot of promise.

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