GOURD – BITTER MELON
Balsam Pear or Bitter Melon/Gourd. A climber with small, fragrant flowers produces a warty fruit. It produces prolifically but may need hand pollination in cool climates. Sow next to a trellis, after all danger of frost has passed. To avoid excessive bitterness, pick the green fruit when young. Fruit is peeled, rubbed with salt and left for an hour then rinsed and the central spongy pith discarded. Seeds should not be eaten. Otherwise it can be parboiled in salted water before use. Used as a cooked vegetable & in pickles & curries.
Early plants can be sown in seedling pots for later transplanting. Prepare well-drained soil with compost & well-rotted manure. Young leaves & shoots are edible. Soil temp min. 22ºC.
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