Bitter Melon Preparation


Bitter melon (Momordica charantia), also known as foo gwa, bitter gourd, ampalaya or balsam pear, is a popular ingredient in east Asian, Central and South American cooking. Only the adventurous among those unacquainted with bitter melon pick it up at their local grocers. Bitter melon looks like a warty pickle, covered with bumps and ridges. Some consider its unique, bitter flavor an acquired taste. But fans of bitter melon often use this nutritious summer fruit in stir-fry dishes, stuffed into pork or shrimp, and steamed or as an ingredient in summer soups. Whatever your intended use for bitter melon, you must first prepare it properly. The unpleasant experience of tasting improperly prepared bitter melon is one that you will not soon forget.

Step 1

Wash the bitter melon. If you did not grow this bitter melon on your own or have sprayed your garden with pesticides or herbicides, first rub it with vinegar for a few seconds to clean away any pesticides. Then rinse it clean with water.

Step 2

Cut the bitter melon in half, lengthwise.

Step 3

Use a spoon or corer to scrape out the bitter melon's seeds.

Step 4

Cut or slice the bitter melon according to the requirements of your recipe.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not eat bitter gourd if you are pregnant or nursing.

Things You'll Need

  • Sharp knife
  • Spoon


  • Thai Food and Travel: Bitter Melon - Mara
  • AyurBalance: Bitter Gourd
  • Flora Delaterre: Bitter Melon
Keywords: bitter melon preparation, prepare bitter gourd, cut bitter gourd

About this Author

Emma Gin is a freelance writer who specializes in green, healthy and smart living. She is currently working on developing a weight-loss website that focuses on community and re-education. Gin is also working on a collection of short stories, because she knows what they say about idle hands.