Identification Help Please
bae at cs.toronto.edu
Tue Jul 30 15:00:52 EST 2002
In article <2002Jul29.181520.20464 at jarvis.cs.toronto.edu>,
Beverly Erlebacher <bae at cs.toronto.edu> wrote:
>In article <pxZ09.415219$vq.22827015 at bin6.nnrp.aus1.giganews.com>,
>CJenks <cjenks4 at home.com> wrote:
>>Can anyone help identify the wild climbing vine shown in the attached photo?
>>It has a small yellow flower and an orange seed pod that contains bright red
>>gelatinous seeds. It grows in abundance here in the central Gulf Coast area
>It's a Chinese vegetable in the Curcurbitaceae family sometimes called
>bitter melon or foo gwa. Anyhow, you eat it when it's still green and
>nearly full size. It's quite bitter so it's generally mixed with other
>ingredients and is a bit of an acquired taste.
>The scientific name is Momordica charantia. Here's a page with a lot of
>links: http://momordica.allbio.org Some damn it as a weed, some praise
>it as a crop, some hail its medicinal value...
Someone in Singapore sent me more info after I posted this:
= You are half correct in your posting re Momordica charantia. The
= picture shows the sp M charatia not the Fu kwa of chinese
= cooking. This small one is a medicinal sp and is used for this
= purpose in various parts of Asia . The Fu Kwa that is eaten as
= part of the Chinese diet is a cultivated vriety that is much much
= larger and is not as bitter as the sp. There is a white variety
= from Taiwan. The average length of the edible fu kwa is about
= 20 -25 cm. The wild one is only about 8 or 9 cm. Fu Kwa is the
= Cantonese version of the name.
I grew these plants one summer, and the fruits were so bitter than
even using recipes from several Chinese cookbooks I couldn't get
used to the taste. Now I know my mistake! I bought the seeds in
a packet labelled mainly in Chinese, which I don't read, and I must
have gotten the medicinal variety. I thought the fruits were so
small because of my unsuitable climate! The ones I see in the store
are much longer.
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