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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Bitter Gourd/Melon (Ampalaya) and Bottle Gourd (Opo)

A friend of mine gave me tons of vegetables that was given to her by a co worker who has garden in his backyard. I really like the better gourd (ampalaya) and the Opo. Last night I finally got the time to cook them. I put bitter melon/gourd in my Paksiw na Bangus while I sauteed the Opo which is one of my hubby's favorite Filipino foods :-).

Bitter Melon or Momordica charantia is a tropical and subtropical vine of the family Cucurbitaceae, widely grown for edible fruit, which is among the most bitter of all fruits. Names for the plant and its fruit include bitter melon, bitter gourd (translated from Chinese: 苦瓜; pinyin: kǔguā), goya (ゴーヤー?) from an Okinawan language or Karela/Karella in India, ampalayácerasee[1] (Caribbean and South America; also spelled cerasse) and Opo from Tagalog. The original home of the species is not known, other than that it is a native of the tropics. It is widely grown in India and other parts of the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, China, Africa, and the Caribbean.

On the other hand, The calabash or bottle gourd or opo squash (not to be confused with the calabaza) is a vine grown for its fruit, which can either be harvested young and used as a vegetable or harvested mature, dried, and used as a bottle, utensil, or pipe. For this reason, one of the calabash subspecies is known as the bottle gourd. The fresh fruit has a light green smooth skin and a white flesh. However the rounder varieties are called Calabash gourds whereas the longer and slimmer kinds are usually well known as bottle gourds. The calabash was one of the first cultivated plants in the world, grown not for food but as a container. It was named for the calabash tree (Crescentia cujete).


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