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Saturday, September 12, 2020

The Bountiful Benefits of Bitter Melon or Bitter Gourd

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Ugh, bitter melon!  A kid’s worst nightmare, forget the horrors of broccoli.  But like many good things, good taste is acquired over time and experience.  Now I am not just saying this because I want to promote how healthy this bitter, bumpy cucumber is but it is a great addition to dishes.   I used to dislike a lot vegetables as a kid but I realized when I started cooking with my partner more that it was not just my kiddie taste bids being picky- I just had a lot of unloved, sad, grey, overcooked and under seasoned veggies.   It is how you prepare food, vegetables I like a little more than fruits at times and I was a born sweet tooth.  Do not approach it as a chore but just as another ingredient.  The veggies went on strike, they want equal rights, equal treatment, whether they are the star of the dish, half the dish or a supporting role they should be treated with respect and the value of their nutrition, flavor and texture be seen.

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Bitter melon I think adds wonderful balance to dishes.  Many people tend to crave basic kiddie flavors like salty, crunchy beef or pork, caramel and chocolate, chips and westernized Chinese food for example.  But dishes with balance of freshness, richness and nutrients are what you can have any time and is good for you from the taste to its health benefits.

This vegetable strikes trauma in children and adults often because the person cooking is not preparing it properly.  You split the veggie in half and very, very important, with a spoon scrape all the white plant tissue that is kind of like the veggie’s connective tissue.  Be through with this step and get it all out, the excessive bitterness comes from those parts.  Now slice them as thin or thick as you want and store leftovers in the fridge, submerged in water for later use.

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Now once you cook this veggie with eggs, beef and/or other veggies which is always a good idea you will really taste how it is supposed to be, noticeably bitter but not overbearing and gives off a nice balance in the food bite.  If you still find it a bit harsh, add a bit of sweetener to your dish like cane sugar, palm sugar or coconut sugar which are healthy.  I enjoy the balance from the bitterness, I think it is refreshing and incredibly cleansing right away.

This crop is a superfood and is just bursting with good things that really help balance out the body.  Here is the verdict:

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438 IU of vitamin A which converts to beta-carotene, 9% the average percent daily value(DV).

78mg of vitamin C a whopping 130% DV. A real immune boost!

5.95 mcg od vitamin K which can convert to K2(for calcium absorption) if you ferment the vegetable.

73 mcg vitamin B1 or thiamin, water-soluble like riboflavin.

73 mcg of riboflavin or B2

372 mcg of niacin or B3

40 mcg of vitamin B6

67 mcg of folate

197 mcg of pantothenic acid or vitamin B5.  Remember that it is so important to have your B-complex, all these B vitamins function is to convert fats, carbs and proteins to glucose for energy.  These nutrients are synthesized and metabolized, distributed for different purposes.  B-complex is crucial for regular, overall mental and physical health.

400 mcg iron

18 mcg of calcium

15 mcg magnesium

29 mcg of phosphorous

275 mg of potassium

4.7 mcg of sodium

744 mcg of zinc

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32 mcg of copper

Minerals are plentiful in bitter gourd and really help you feel better if you feel anemic or lethargic.  They take care of the heart, vessels nerves, bones and muscles while B-complex repairs DNA.  What a powerhouse crop.

Bitter melon is proven to be an all around, go-to health veggie.  Feeling sick, hungover or kind of down, this is a great veggie for that.  It tends to like pork and beef.  It goes well with eggs too.  Add bitter melon last minute because it can overcook fast, some bite to it is nice.  Cook with garlic, onions, perhaps ginger then add your protein of choice or just add vegetables such as green beans, tomatoes and leafy greens of your choice.

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