The Momordica charantia, or balsam pear, is the perfect plant for your garden. This plant will wrap itself around your garden and produce an impressive and noticeable crop! The dangling vegetable mentioned is a type of squash that grows on long, thin vines. Its fruit is large and hollow, and its leaves are deeply lobed.
The bitter melon, also known as the balsam apple, bitter apple, or bitter gourd, is surprisingly bitter in flavor even when ripe.
The Indian version of the Momordica charantia plant has dark green skin, is very bumpy, and has spikes all over it. The Chinese varieties of eggplant are usually smoother on the exterior and while still bitter, are more tender and need less cooking time than their Indian counterparts.
The vines of the bitter melon plant can grow to lengths of 13-16 ft. The leaves of the plant can vary in size, with some being as small as a quarter, while others can be as large as a child’s face. The spade-shaped leaves with deep lobes can give a very elegant look, especially with the small yellow flowers coming out from under them. For pollination to occur, Balsam Pear needs both male and female flowers. Pollen from the male flowers needs to find its way into the female flowers. The plant will continue to produce fruit throughout the summer months, until the temperature drops below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The color of the seeds range from red to tan. The size of the seeds are about the size of a dime.
The young leaves and shoots are eaten as greens, while the fruit is used as a vegetable. The balsam pear is used as a green leafy vegetable, as well as in its fruit form as a vegetable. The most common way to use bitter melon is to add the fruit to stir-fries and curries. The leaves can also be used to add flavor to soups and teas. There are many stories about how bitter melon can help with digestive problems, ulcers, diabetes, or the need for laxatives or anti-aging properties, but there is no scientific evidence to back up these claims.
Planting Bitter Melon
The best time to plant bitter melon is late spring to early summer. It enjoys warm temperatures and cannot tolerate even a light frost. Ensure that there is no more potential for cold weather and that warmer temperatures are on the way. The Momordica charantia plant thrives in warm temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit, so make sure to take this into account when planning where to plant it.
To start, soak the seeds in soil or wet paper towels for 2-4 days so they sprout. Keep the seeds moist during this time. Make sure the seeds open and a white taproot comes out before taking them out of the moist paper towel. Then, put the seeds in the soil. Bitter melon requires well-fertilized soil with good drainage.
Your bitter melon plant should be placed in a location where it will get at least 6 hours of sun a day. Preferably, it should get more sun than that. Momordica charantia enjoys winding its vines all over the garden and allowing its green or bright orange fruits to hang without touching a trellis or the ground. Momordica charantia plants are great for growing in containers near the base of trees. The plants will often send vines up through the branches to reach sunlight. The leaves will soak up sunlight and heat while the roots stay cool.
If you don’t have a tree to host your balsam apple, be sure to provide a sturdy trellis or fence for it to grow on.
If you want to have lots of delicious fruits, take good care of your plants!
Sun and Temperature
This plant originates from subtropical areas and as a result prefers warm conditions and a moist environment, which are both things that subtropical plants are used to. The vines need full sun, but the roots need a more sheltered environment. The conditions in a subtropical environment with mature plants growing into and over one another are often hot and humid. Each plant reaches for the sun with its vines and leaves, while the roots nestle securely in the cooler, shaded areas where moisture collects. The conditions you are trying to replicate in the home garden are the ones that are typically found in the wild.
If you want to try growing balsam pear but live in a cooler climate, your best bet is to grow it in a greenhouse. If you are growing squash in a greenhouse and there are no pollinators present, you will need to hand-pollinate by taking the pollen from the male yellow flowers and rubbing it on the female yellow flowers. Make sure not to detach the yellow flowers from the vine. A small paintbrush or cotton swab can be used to effectively pollinate.
Water and Humidity
Watering is a must for this subtropical plant! It is NOT drought-tolerant. An apple that is bitter needs a lot of water and does not do well in dry conditions. Water the plant deeply once a week, at least an inch of water. While this plant does well with a system that drip-feeds water or with a soaker hose, it does best with hand- watering. Make sure to completely saturate the ground around the roots while avoiding getting the leaves of the plant wet. Soak the area two or three times.
If your roots are in direct sunlight, you may need to water them twice a week.
This plant does not need rich soil to grow. The plant can adapt to its growing area as long as the soil has compost and good drainage. The flower prefers a soil pH of 5.5 to 6.7, which is common in most garden soils. If you’re having trouble growing plants in your garden because the soil is too alkaline, try growing plants in containers. That way, you can more easily control the pH of the soil.
Momordica charantia are not heavy feeders, but they do need fertilizer right as they begin to flower in order to produce fruit. When you begin to see the yellow flowers emerging, try giving them a fertilizer that is well-balanced, like a 10-10-10.
When you first plant balsam apple seeds, you should mix in compost or well-rotted manure with the initial potting mix. Momordica charantia uses nitrogen in order to vine.
Pruning is not necessary for balsam pear, but it is recommended. This fruit, which is edible, will produce a lot of green vines that can quickly take over the garden. Many people will trim their Momordica charantia back to make it more tidy and to increase the size of the ripe fruit.
To make the plant look nicer, wind the vines around a string or trellis, making sure there is about one foot between each vine. You should keep the vines spaced out to prevent bugs from infesting them. Remove all vines that grow along the ground.
To improve the flavor and size of the ripe fruit, prune the tips of growing vines to about 5 to 6 leaves past the last fruit. This decreases the number of fruits you can get, but improves the quality in terms of size and flavor.
Momordica charantia is grown exclusively from seeds. You can find seeds that are either tan or red, and germinate them using the methods described.
Proven Health Benefits of Bitter Gourd (Bitter Melon)
Many clinical studies have been conducted to assess the bitter gourd’s effectiveness for human health. Most of these studies suggest that eating bitter gourd is good for people’s health.
We generally don’t like bitter gourd because it tastes bitter. The health benefits of this food are so plentiful that you will probably change your mind about it once you know about them.
Bitter Gourd for Weight Loss
Since bitter gourd is bitter, it contains components that prevent your body from absorbing extra sugar. It helps lower blood sugar levels and keeps them down.
In addition, it has been shown to increase the number of beta cells in the pancreas, which are responsible for secreting insulin in the body. If your insulin levels are well controlled, your blood sugar levels will go down, and you’ll lose weight.
The bitter gourd fruit contains high levels of Vitamin C, as well as essential minerals such as potassium, magnesium and iron. It is also a good source of dietary fiber and protein. These things will keep you from getting hungry throughout the day, so you won’t have to snack at strange times.
In addition, fiber helps curb hunger. The low carbohydrate and fat content helps to prevent excessive fat build-up in the body and aids in proper digestion.
Recent reports suggest that bitter melons may worsen conditions leading to obesity and hyperlipidemia.
Bitter Gourd Promotes Good Gut Health
If you eat bitter gourd regularly, it will help keep your gut healthy. It treats intestinal disorders like constipation and stomach aches. Another perk of this turmeric concoction is that it assists with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). The turmeric helps to kill any parasites that might enter the digestive system.
Bitter gourd contains antioxidants, which have various benefits for digestion. Bitter gourd is recommended by doctors for maintaining good digestive health due to its natural laxative property and high fiber count.
The study found that bitter gourd can change the gut microbiota structure by altering the assemblage of microorganisms.
Bitter Gourd Helps Manage Diabetes
Doctors and nutritionists prescribe bitter gourd to diabetic patients. Bitter gourd is known for its many health benefits. It contains three active substances with anti-diabetic properties. The three active substances in this medication (polypeptide-p, vicine, and Charanti) all have properties that mimic insulin, causing a reduction in blood sugar levels.
These substances either work together or separately to decrease blood sugar levels. Additionally, bitter gourd has a lectin that can lower blood sugar levels by reducing hunger and working on the tissues in the arms and legs.
Lectin is said to be responsible for the hypoglycemic effect. It means that the blood sugar levels are down. Both the flesh and seeds of the plant are beneficial in this aspect. By drinking bitter gourd juice every morning on an empty stomach, you can help keep your diabetes under control.
The keto diet can reverse type 2 diabetes. This happens when there is too little insulin produced by the pancreas for the body to properly absorb blood sugar. If you have type 1 diabetes, you should talk to your doctor before you eat it.
Bitter Gourd Boosts Immunity
Bitter gourd contains a high amount of vitamin C, as well as plenty of antioxidant properties. Our body needs antioxidants in order to create more immune cells and white blood cells.
Vitamin C is good for your health because it strengthens the immune system and helps prevent allergies. The recommended daily intake of vitamin C is 98.5 mg, which can be easily fulfilled by bitter gourd.
This research suggests that this plant food could provide medical benefits for various conditions by reducing inflammation responses in mice with sepsis.
Bitter Melon Purifies Blood and Cleanses the Liver
The bitter gourd can help cleanse your body of toxins due to its antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. According to studies, it can help cleanse your liver of all toxins. Bitter gourd can help with many liver problems and cleanse your bowel. It also aids the proper functioning of the bladder.
Many experts agree that drinking bitter gourd juice can help to reduce the effects of a hangover by helping to reduce intoxication. This can lead to feeling more active overall.
Bitter Melon Protects against Cancer
Free radicals are the primary cause of cancer. They can influence our bodily functions. In other words, you need to get rid of free radicals in your body. Free radicals are a by-product of our metabolism. Their count increases with smoking, pollution, and stress.
The bitter gourd contains nutrients such as lycopene, lignans, carotenoids, and vitamin A, zeaxanthin, and lutein. In addition, it includes primary antioxidants and nutrients. All these help fight free radicals. It ultimately reduces the formation of tumors in your body.
A study found that bitter melon has anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties that can help prevent prostate, breast, and cervical cancers.
Bitter Melon Regulates Cholesterol
If you have high cholesterol, you may be at risk for developing fatty plaque in your arteries. It makes your heart work harder to pump blood. As a result, the risk of cardiovascular diseases increases.
Several studies have found that bitter gourd can help to reduce levels of “bad” cholesterol while also helping to regulate levels of “good” cholesterol, which can contribute to overall better health. Bitter gourd is also beneficial for the heart as it is rich in potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
Bitter Gourd Helps Treat Obesity
Bitter gourd is an effective weight-loss food because of its simple, yet effective, nutrient profile. For example, 100 grams of raw bitter gourd contains a small amount of calories, fat, protein, and fiber. It will make you feel full without adding extra weight.
The nutrients help improve the body’s overall metabolism, and the fiber content helps you feel full for longer. This means that it can help you to have a healthier digestive system and can prevent you from overeating on junk food and unhealthy snacks. Drinking raw juice is the best way to consume bitter gourd for obesity.
It monitors blood sugar levels to ensure they are at a healthy level for managing weight. The last function of glucagon is to activate insulin in order to stop sugar from being stored as fat.
Bitter Melon Adds Luster and Shine to Hair
Bitter gourd promotes hair growth and supports hair health. The components of bitter gourd that are beneficial to hair health are protein, zinc, and vitamin C. Bitter gourd juice can help keep your hair looking shiny and new. This oil also strengthens hair roots and eliminates split ends and hair fall. It also treats hair greying, roughness, dandruff, and itchiness.
Bitter Melon Beautifies the Skin
Vitamin C is essential for keeping the skin looking young and prevents premature aging. Bitter gourd is rich in vitamin C. This beverage not only contains nutrients that help with collagen production, but also other nutrients that contribute to smoother and more elastic skin. It also improves skin conditions like blemishes, acne, psoriasis, and eczema. This product also helps to protect the skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
Bitter melon is essential for treating photo-oxidative damage or skin wrinkling and melanogenesis, according to research. And melanin determines your hair color.