Bittermelon

Bittermelon has many health benefits it is a liver tonic, immune booster and weightloss aid.  It helps treat respiratory disorders, diabetes, constipation, itchy scalp, hairloss, acne and complexion problems.  Bittermelon is also addresses heart disease, lowers cholesterol, helps in cancer prevention, improves kidney and bladder health and is a natural energy booster.  It helps in anti-aging, purifying blood and makes the hair shiny.  

Typically in Chinese medicine the bitter flavor is used to drain heat from the body.  This is particularly beneficial in the hotter months where the body may not be able to effectively rid itself of heat resulting in symptoms such as hot flashes, heatstroke, feverishness, heat exhaustion, rashes, skin irritation, red eyes, acid reflux, and irritability to name a few.

Bittermelon lives up to its name and in it's raw form is too bitter to eat.  Yet when salted and cooked it is a tasty, slightly salty vegetable with just a touch of sweet complexity to calm the bitterness.  Try out the following recipe and see what you think.

1-2 bittermelon- can be found at Wegmans's or Asian Grocery stores

2 teaspoons Salt

2 teaspoons Butter

Cut bitter melon lengthwise, remove seeds and white pith by scraping it out with a spoon.  Generously salt both halves and allow to sit for 30 minutes.  After 30 mins slice diagonally into half moons about a fourth of an inch thick.  Heat up pan on medium heat and put the bittermelon and butter into the pan.  Saute the bittermelon until it is tender and browned indicating the caramelization of the bittermelon.  Makes 4 servings.

Serve as a side dish, add ground pork, chunks of chicken or sausage to create a entree.  If you are feeling adventurous sautéed it with onions and add some beaten eggs to the pan to make a unique scramble that you serve with fresh diced tomatoes and parsley.

 Bittermelon and butter sautéing on medium heat.

Bittermelon and butter sautéing on medium heat.

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