PLANT : Vigorous Vines, Hardy
SOWING TIME : Summer As Well As Rainy Season
FRUIT : Dark Green With Spines, Sleek
FRUIT LENGTH : 7-8 Inches Long
FIRST PICKING : After 55-60 Days From Sowing
Karela, as better known in India and some neighboring countries, is also called by names such as bitter melon, bitter gourd, bitter squash and balsam pear. Bitter Gourd comes packed with nutrients that enable you to lead a healthy life. Most important of all is a phytonutrient Polypeptide-P, which is a plant insulin that lowers blood sugar levels naturally. Not just this, it also has the potential to treat cancer and HIV infection in their early stages. It also carries a potent dose of Vitamin C, A, K and is proven to work wonders for the skin and liver. Bitter Gourd is also helpful in lowering cholesterol, ridding the kidneys of stones, and even reducing the risk of pancreatic cancer.
As far as the taste is concerned, rubbing salt or soaking peeled bitter gourd in salt water prior to cooking cuts down on the bitterness considerably. Either cut it in fine rings and cook it like other vegetables with spices or simply slit through and stuff it with your favorite spices for an interesting dish.
Soil should be mixed with well rotten Cow dung. Sow the seeds at a distance of 1 feet plant to plan and 4 feet line to line. Water it immediately and then water as per requirement. Harvest after 55 to 60 days.