Bitter Gourd (Bittermelon) fruits have a waxy skin and an oblong shape whilst the flesh is crunchy and similar in texture to a cucumber or capsicum. The fruit is dark green,
7 to 10 inches long, uniform in shape. The young shoots and leaves can also be used as greens but it is mostly grown for the bitter fruits, usually picked when green. It can be used in stir-fries, soups, tea, or curries. The fruits are excellent in broths, soups, or stir-fries, and the leaves and shoots are also edible. Bitter melon is high in quinine, which gives the fruits their distinctive, mildly bitter taste. It is also used in traditional medicines for treating diabetes and digestive issues. The botanical name is Curcubita maxim. The bitter melon is also considered to have medicinal properties and is widely used in Asian and African remedies to treat gastrointestinal pains, painful menstruation, fevers, and malaria. Best grown in warm, subtropical, and tropical climates, sow when no danger of frost and the soil temperature is above 70 degrees F. (22 degrees C). Soak seeds overnight before planting out, Sow 20mm deep, spaced 90cm apart. Harvest in about 55 to 70 days.