How to Freeze an Ampalaya Leaf
Ampalaya is largely cultivated for its bitter but nutritious, cucumber-shaped fruit which is commonly known as bitter melon or balsam pear. The leaves of the ampalaya are less commonly eaten, but they are just as nutritious as the plant's fruit. However, they are also just as bitter and often only needed in small amounts. To conserve the crop, the remainder of the leaves can be frozen for later use.
Remove the stems and any damaged portion of the ampalaya leaves with a pair of kitchen scissors.
Rinse the leaves thoroughly with water. Rub them to remove any clinging dirt or other debris.
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Toss in the ampalaya leaves for one minute.
Remove the leaves from the water and immediately immerse them in ice water. Leave them there for two minutes.
Dry the ampalaya leaves by laying them on one paper towel while blotting them with another.
Place the leaves in a freezer bag. Remove as much air from it as possible before sealing it.
Label the bag with the date that the leaves were frozen and place it in the freezer.
Purchase seeds from an online seed company, garden store or local Asian food market. Soak seeds in water for 24 to 48 hours before you plant them. The plant should ideally receive six hours of sun per day. You can also start seeds in small plastic pots in a commercial soil mix. Transplant the seedlings outside when they reach about 4 inches tall. Water the plant regularly, enough to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Use trickle or drip irrigation. Leave one plant in each space. Inspect plants for signs of powdery mildew, downy mildew and watermelon mosaic virus. Use commercially available fungicides to treat mildew issues. Sulfur dust is also good for combating powdery mildew. Remove any spotted and striped beetles from vines.
Thaw and use your ampalaya leaves withing six months of freezing them.
- Thaw and use your ampalaya leaves withing six months of freezing them.
- Paper towel
- Freezer bag
- Iowa State University: Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
- AVRDC - The World Vegetable Center: Bitter Gourd
- Bonnie Plants: Growing Bitter Melon
- Kitazawa Seed Co.: Bitter Gourd (Momordica Charantia)
- Virginia Cooperative Extension: Plant Propagation from Seed
- The National Bitter Melon Council: Garden Growing Information
- University of California Specialty and Minor Crops Handbook: Bitter Melon
- University of Florida Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises: Bitter Melon
- Purdue University: Asian Vegetables: Selected Fruit and Leafy Types
- Fine Gardening: Momordica Charantia (Bitter Melon, Balsam Pear)
- University of California IPM Online: How to Manage Pests: Pests in Gardens and Landscapes: Powdery Mildew on Vegetables