Summer Favorite: Bitter Melon (Ampalaya)

It never truly feels like summer until we can start harvesting the veggies from my dad’s garden. I feel so lucky that we always had the freshest vegetables in the summer and even luckier that we had “weird” veggies like eggplant and long green beans along with the typical tomatoes.

I got really excited yesterday when I spotted freshly picked bitter melon or ampalaya in my mom and dad’s kitchen:

Bitter Melon

Not everyone is a fan of bitter melon because it’s, well, bitter. But there are lots of different ways to prepare it which equals a lot of chances for you to acquire a taste for it. One of the things I would like to try is adding it to juice recipes. It’ll kick the flavor up a notch!

Many people believe that bitter melon has health benefits, but there are also some things to consider if you have the desire to go on a bitter melon binge. Note that while it is supposed to help with diabetes, it can also interact with diabetes medication. And one of the things that I was always told is that it’s supposed to help alleviate those pesky cramps that ladies get, but this also means that it is somewhat of a blood thinner.

Here are two bitter melon recipes that reflect its versatility!

Bitter Melon Salad – This is a raw recipe that I usually make with tomato and onion, but I also modify it by using strawberry in place of tomato which results in a playful mixture of bitter and sweet flavors.

Bitter Melon Salad

Stuffed Bitter Melon – I am still so proud of this recipe! The bitter melon is stuffed with soy curls mixed with Asian and spicy flavors and then baked.

IMG_7520

What are your thoughts on bitter melon? Let us know in the comments! -Melissa

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