If you pass by the tropical vegetables in your supermarket, you might think twice about picking up bitter melons (or bitter gourds), because they have green, bumpy skin that somehow looks scary to eat. But let's not judge its outer appearance — what's inside is something very nutritious and exceptionally good for those with diabetes. Bitter melon contains three active anti-diabetic properties: charantin, which helps lower blood glucose levels; polypeptide-p, which has an insulin-like effect; and vicine.
Even when I was a kid, I was aware of how healthy bitter melons are, but I refused to eat them because, like the name suggests, they are bitter. But there is a way to eliminate most of the bitterness — by leaving them covered in salt for a time and then rinsing and squeezing the salt away. Even if you do this, expect a little bit of the bitterness to remain, but in a delicious way. Bitter melons are commonly used in Asian cuisine, and what I share here is the typical Filipino way of cooking it: stir-frying it, with or without pork, and then finishing it off with an egg.
Like most adults, my taste buds have made a complete turnaround since I was a child. I now love bitter melons cooked this way. In a nutshell, bitter melons are not friendly to children's palates, so forget about pushing your kids to eat it. But you should try it, because aside from being one of the most nutritious vegetables that exists, bitter melons are also very bitter-good.
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