Bitter gourd vegetable has many varieties and even more recipes in the south-east Asian region, some of the tested dishes are gobsmacking good. However, I was not used to drinking bitter melon juice that only happened when we moved to live in Asia. For centuries it is known and praised for it medicinal and curative properties purposes. Used as a folk remedy to help with weight loss, blood disorders and bad hangovers; it helps lowering blood glucose levels in diabetics. To extract bitter gourd juice, a juicing machine is helpful but a blender will work as well.
My friends in New Delhi informed me to drink some bitter gourd (Karela) juice on an empty stomach each morning. First, remove the seeds of two to three bitter gourds and use a juicer to extract the juice. Add some water and then drink it. The Indian variety is much smaller and pointier, it differs from the Chinese which is longer and smoother as shown in the image above.
To drink on a regular basis you must have grown up with and accustomed to regularly consuming the bitter gourd/melons juice. Bitter Melon Juice honours its name by absolute bitterness, it is for the initiated to drink without qualms and a taste exploration for beginners to learn to appreciate its medicinal values and flavour.The juice of one medium size Chinese variety bitter melon will yield around 200-250ml and that is more than enough to start the day or adding a new dietary regimen to your lifestyle.
For the healthy nutritional benefits, cleansing, diabetic and inflammatory properties half the amount will be more than sufficient. Please consult your doctor or dietitian for diabetic advice.
In south-east Asia, every region has its own dishes and recipes and most likely if you travel around you must have seen or already eaten this vegetable. Drinking the juice or in mixed drinks is something I have been experimenting with various fruits and vegetables to find the best Bitter melon juice recipes to enjoy.
Bitter gourd is a rich source of vitamin C. Vitamin C protects your cells from free radicals, harmful agents involved in cancer development, cardiovascular disease and ageing. It also benefits your immune system, keeps your tissues strong by facilitating collagen production and helps you absorb iron from your diet. A cup of bitter gourd contains 78 milligrammes of vitamin C. This provides the entire daily recommended intake of vitamin C for women and 87 percent of the RDA for men.
How to buy and prepare
- When you buy, do select bitter gourds that are unripe and firm as the ripened ones are extremely bitter. They should have a solid, light green colour, without any signs of yellow or orange colour on the skin or blemishes.
- It is said to reduce the bitterness, you can soak the chopped pieces for about 30 minutes in a bowl of water with about 1/2 teaspoon of salt or juice from half/whole lemon. Next, to soaking you could parboil the slices or chunks, a method I prefer when cooking.
- Rule of Thumb balancing food flavours: “bitter taste pairs with sweet, salty or sour flavours”.
Five best Bitter Melon Juice recipes
Scroll down for recipe Bitter Melon Juice with ginger, honey and lemon juice or click on the links for other recipes.