The Chinese bitter melon, also known as balsam pear and bitter cucumber, is a gourd that is similar in shape to a cucumber and grown in tropical climates.
It is common in Asian and Indian cooking and as its name suggests, it has a bitter taste. To reduce bitterness, you can remove the inner flesh and seeds and blanch or salt the bitter melon. It is great stuffed, curried, pickled or added to stews and soups. Not only is it common in cuisine, in Asia and Africa it is believed to have medicinal qualities and often used to purify the blood, reduce blood sugar, and help with the digestive system.
Crystal Valley Chinese bitter melon is available year-round from the Dominican Republic and Honduras.
Choose bitter melon that is firm and blemish free.