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A member of the squash family, bitter melon is native to southern China. Fruits are oblong and warty, usually about 8 inches long. The flesh has a watery, crunchy texture, similar to a pepper or cucumber. The bitter flavor is due to the melon’s quinine content. Use fruits before they turn very ripe and orange, slice thinly, and stir-fry or add to soups. This melon serves a nutritional punch, offering iron, twice the beta-carotene of broccoli, twice the potassium of bananas, and twice the calcium of spinach. It also contains high amounts of fiber, phosphorous, and Vitamins C, B1, B2, and B3.

Pkt Size/Approx. Seeds
2 g / 12+ Seeds

Bitter Gourds like warmer temperatures. Plant only in late spring or early summer when the risk of frost is well past. Bitter gourd seeds require temperatures of 65 F to germinate, but for best results wait until it is consistently warmer than that before direct sowing outdoors. Prepare fertile, well-drained soil. In warm areas, sow seeds in late spring/summer after the last frost in a sunny location. For better germination, sprout seeds indoors by soaking them in water for 24 hours. Wrap in a wet paper towel and keep warm between 75-85°F. Plant when seeds sprout. Keep soil moist. Fertilize as needed. Train to climb a vertical support for better air circulation and ease of harvest. Low soil temperatures may result in low or no germination. Bitter melons are excellent in soups and a tasty addition to stir-fries. Try them stuffed with pork, or seafood, or cooked with fermented black beans. Recommended as a healthy food by the American Diabetic Association.

Also known as African cucumber, alligator pear, balsam pear, bitter cucumber, bitter gourd, bitter melon, and tsuru reishi.

Momordica charantia
70 days to maturity
Warm season annual

Each of our heirloom garden seeds is carefully hand-packaged, in an airtight bag, (proven to preserve freshness better than paper packets). Every packet is labeled with this season's information, along with growing tips and germination tests.