|Number of plants found: 5|
The leaves are 4-5 inches wide and divided into several lobes. It produces a pale green, semi-flattened fruit resembling a cucumber that is 4-6 inches long and 2-3 inches wide.
The immature fruits may be eaten raw or pickled. The young shoots and leaves may also be eaten as greens. The mature fruit are also prepared as stuffed peppers; stuffed with meat, fish or cheese and then baked - earning it's name "Stuffing Cucumber."
Momordica charantia is an annual and has a creeping or climbing stem. The fruit is broadly egg shaped, beaked, bumpy, ribbed, to 10 cm long and golden yellow to bright orange. At maturity the fruit breaks, bursting open along the 3 valves. The orange pulp contains bright red arils which enclose the seeds.
Momordica charantia has been used extensively in folk medicine as a remedy for diabetes. In Ayurveda, the fruit is considered as tonic, stomachic, stimulant, emetic, antibilous,laxative and alterative. The fruit is useful in gout, rheumatism and subacute cases of the spleen and liver diseases. It has also been shown to have hypoglycaemic properties (anti-diabetic) in animal as well as human studies.
Plant in rich moist soil, in frost free areas, since bitter melon is very sensitve to frost. Do not water too much.
In cooler climates start planting in pots 6 weeks before the frost free date; transplant when there is no more danger of frost.
Chinese bitter-cucumbers are yellow to reddish orange in color and have pale, firm flesh. The Indian is darker and thinner than the Chinese, while the Thai is white when immature. If left on the plant to ripen completely, the fruit bursts open. The light brown seeds are embedded in white, cottony flesh; but the seed coverings do taste pleasantly sweet and are often used as a condiment.
Momordica Cochinchinencis is a traditional medicinal plant in India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, China, the Philippines, and the Caribbean, and has been used since early time. It was commonly grown in gardens and gave red fruit with red pulp. This plant is quite familiar to women; they know perfectly how to conserve such fruits and make use of them for various purposes such as cooking glutinous rice with fresh pulp, making dried pulp candy, jam, for the treatment of blur eyes, malnutrition as they contain active substances (now called pre-vitamin A).It is a good vegetable to hollow out and fill; but also delicious is curries, pickled, stir-fried, and salads; but it needs to be blanched before using as it cannot be eaten raw.
It prefers a well-drained soil, plenty of water in growth and some sun. The caudex will grow to 30 centimetres in diameter.