Sunday, February 15, 2015

Do you know bittermelon?

Momordica charantia often called bitter melon, bitter gourd or bitter squash in English, has many other local names. Goya from the indigenous language of Okinawa and karavella from Sanskrit are also used by English-language speakers.
The fruit has a distinct warty exterior and an oblong shape. It is hollow in cross-section, with a relatively thin layer of flesh surrounding a central seed cavity filled with large, flat seeds and pith. The fruit is most often eaten green, or as it is beginning to turn yellow. At this stage, the fruit's flesh is crunchy and watery in texture, similar to cucumber, chayote or green bell pepper, but bitter. The skin is tender and edible. Seeds and pith appear white in unripe fruits; they are not intensely bitter and can be removed before cooking.
As the fruit ripens, the flesh (rind) becomes tougher, bitterer, and too distasteful to eat. On the other hand, the pith becomes sweet and intensely red; it can be eaten uncooked in this state, and is a popular ingredient in some Southeast Asian salads.

When the fruit is fully ripe, it turns orange and mushy, and splits into segments which curl back dramatically to expose seeds covered in bright red pulp.
Some parts of the plant including arils (seed covering) are toxic, causing vomiting, diarrhea, and even death in children.
Question time
Feel free to write your answers in comments below.
1.     What new words did you encounter in this text?
2.     What topic are they related to?

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