Melon, Bitter (Bitter Melon) (Momordica charantia), packet of 10 seeds

$2.95

Family:  Gourd (Cucurbitaceae)

Perennial in Zones 10 to 12, grown as an annual in temperate climates, 50 to 60 days to harvest.

Perennial vine native to Africa, currently pantropical.  This is a choice green-skinned cultivar I first obtained in Yunnan during my travels–the plant is widely grown and appreciated in China. Traditional usage (TWM, TCM): bitter digestive, antidiabetic.  Vines are vigorous, fruits are very large (we weighed our first one in this season at 1.2 lbs).  The plants prefer full sun, warm days and nights, and a trellis.  Insect-pollinated. A single vine can easily cover 10 square feet.   Soak seeds overnight before planting.  Pour very warm water in a pint jar and drop the seeds in there, allow to soak overnight, then plant the next day.  Helps immensely.  Sow the seeds about 1/2 inch deep in good potting soil in the greenhouse or a nice, composty hill of garden soil in the spring or summer garden and keep moist and very warm until germination, which takes about a week. Thin or transplant to 3 plants per hill and space hills 6 feet apart.

10 seeds per packet, Open Pollinated, Untreated, NO GMOs

 

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  1. Laura

    Laura (verified owner)

    Grew these for the first time this year for a special customer, it could have used a taller trellis than I used which was 3ft high. We had a cool wet spring so I suspect not nearly warm enough, the fruits were small about 6 inches. I found if I left them to go bigger, they turned yellow and popped open. Do all the fruits pop open with the red gelatinous seed coats when overripe? I also had a brownish scale on the outside of some, almost looked like it was aging. There is a demand for this, but not sure my growing conditions will favor it. I am on the edge of 6a and 6b.

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    • Richo Cech

      Admin Richo Cech

      Thanks for your good comments. When growing summer annuals, zone is not particularly pertinent, it is days to maturity that you want to watch. Apparently your summer was plenty warm and long enough if the fruits were ripening on the vine. Normally these are harvested in the green stage, before they go soft and yellow, before they split open to reveal the shocking red interior. 6-inch fruits are normal, not small. A tall trellis is definitely useful, or bend a piece of stock fencing into a tunnel and the fruits will hang down inside, which is convenient. Cheers!

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  2. Richo Cech

    Admin Richo Cech

    we use when they are green. We take out the seeds, slice very thin, soak in salted water for one hr or so to take out some bitterness. It’s the fried style with minced garlic onion and chilli powder, dried shrimp powder and some salt. Shrimp powder balances the bitter taste I also use mushroom powder.

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    • d j

      I also use them green, and actually prefer them under 6 inches when I can find them. I make a Filipino dish called ginisang ampalaya with onion, garlic, yard-long bean, tomato, kabocha, okra, and fish sauce – patis or baguoong.. (You can also add shrimp, eggs to scramble, or just leave it semi-vegetarian.) I’ve figured out over the years that getting the youngest most green fruits, carefully scraping off ALL the white pith, slicing very thinly, soaking sliced fruits in cold water prior to cooking, and not overcooking are the secrets to more palatable ampalaya (bitter melon).

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    • david ellis

      Richo, i purchased some seed from you for growing this upcoming 2019 season. I also have your book Making Plant Medicine but notice bitter melon is not discussed to my knowledge in the book. I want to tincture the bitter melon could you recommend Dry vs fresh and a solvent ratio? I was thinking fresh herb at 1:2 (75A:25W) but can i include the seeds? Thanks for the reply Dave

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    • Richo Cech

      Admin Richo Cech

      Hi David,
      That sounds like a good formula for the fresh. Best to use the green fruit and not the red inside mush or the seeds. Seeds valuable for replanting. This is commonly dried and concocted and water seems to pull out the properties.

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