Saturday, January 29, 2011

Kitaran Hidup Peria (Seed Week & Seed Give-away)

Peria (Malay Language) or known as Bitter Gourd in English or Goya in Japanese are warm-loving vegetable. Although it is known as a bitter fruit, in South-East Asia, peria is believe to help women maintain her appearance and internal youth/health/vitality (awet muda) which make this vegetable/fruit a very popular dish. I don’t think it will give eternal youth though. What I mean is it is good for women health. You might think due to its bitterness, it is not an expensive fruit. Wrong! Prices for this vegetable goes up every year. To be honest, I don’t really like to eat this vegetable when I was a child. I start to like this when I became a young adult. How young is young I wonder? I guess it is an acquire test. Personally, I think when cooking bitter gourd, it combines well with chilies. I think bitterness and spicy combination create a new craving taste.Do I have weird taste bud? For Bitter gourd stir fry dish, I usually pound some dried shrimp,hot chilies, shallot and garlic saute together. Previous warm season was the first time I grown bitter gourd here in Adelaide, and we managed to save some seeds. Germination was very late last warm season, we succeed germination when it was end of Spring in November. But last year was awfully hot, we even had heat wave in November. This year is a bit cooler, we were surprised that the home-saved seed germinate in October. Due to the number of seeds that I have collected last season, I dare to do some sowing trial even it was still not that warm enough for peria. It is simple to say that I was impatient. I guess our home-saved seed has adapt a little bit with cooler condition ( based on speculation no scientific evidence).

Clockwise: Bitter gourd home-saved seed, Bitter gourd seedlings from direct sowing, Bitter gourd in pot, Bitter gourd growing on the veggie patch.

Peria

I was excited that this year our bitter gourd plant bear fruit early and we already have a taste of it. The older the bitter gourd fruit be, the more bitter it become, it is better to harvest when it is young. At first, even when I hand-pollinated the bitter gourd, the female fruit is growing so slow. Then my cousin wrap the fruit with newspaper and it grows very fast. I wonder why. Below mosaic, from clock wise an experimentation we did fruit wrap with newspaper and not wrap (star~wrap, moon symbol~ not wrap). We tested on several other fruit as well and got the same result. Can you see the obvious result. I tore open the newspaper on the upper part a bit to show the fat fruit compare with the unwrap one. Did you notice that the centre of male and female flower has actually different colour, female is yellow where as male is more orange in colour.

Bitter gourd

Bitter gourd growing in the veggie patch, has not given me any harvest yet. On the other hand, bitter gourds growing in polystyrene boxes has given us harvest and many fruits are dangling on the tree tempting me to pluck them early. I am glad I collected bitter gourd seed last season.This season, bitter gourd is one of the priority in warm-vegetable seed-collecting list. Because I am running out of this seeds.

Peria (2)

What is “Seed Week”? 
Sharing our own experiences and gain knowledge about collecting, propagating, growing seeds, bulbs, tubers, rhizomes, or cuttings and can be about how to keep them in top shape. The wonderful thing about collecting seeds from plants that thrive in your place is that each year and the next year, the seeds will become more and more adapt to your garden environment. It will also save money, instead of buying the same seeds every year, you can try a new variety or trade seeds with other gardeners. Sharing is a wonderful thing. Please join us for this seed week. I will randomly choose 5 participants for home saved-seeds give-away. I like to share my home saved-seeds to you.  There is a linky to link your post at the bottom of this post. It can be a new post or and old one, also not limited to one post only.
Here is a compilation of inspiring post link from around the world since my previous posting:
HERB
FLOWER FRUIT OTHERS

PROPAGATION

SEED SAVING
VEGETABLES

25 comments:

Eliza @ Appalachian Feet said...

I am always nervous to try bitter gourd when I see it in our Asian grocery stores. The name isn't very enticing. However, I do often prefer bitter, sour, and spicy flavors so perhaps I would enjoy it. Your description makes me feel like being adventurous and trying to cook some.

takaeko said...

I visited Okinawa so often and I eat "Goya chanpuru ゴーヤチャンプル / Grilled sliced goya with tofu, pork and other vegetables " in a local restaurant.
How do you and your friends cook goya?

Patricia said...

My daughter-in-love is from the Philippine Islands and her family cooks with bitter melon, but I have never tired it myself. I am inspired to try.

Bangchik said...

It will be quite a sight to let bitter gourds go to the end... the fruits turn yellow and break, with seeds covered in red flesh....

Green Lane Allotments said...

It looks like an overweight cucumber!

Autumn Belle said...

I love bitter gourd dishes too, e.g. stir fried with chicken and ginger, bitter gourd soup, bitter gourd omelette and yong tofu (stuffed tofu). To reduce the bitterness, I add some salt to the cut slices and let it stand for about 10 min before I rinse them. The longer you let it stand with the salt, the bitter gourd will get less bitter but also less crispy. Some people blanch them after the salt and rinse treatment, and then use it for cooking. In Malaysia, I have seen people selling 'bitter gourd tea' in tea bags as they claim that it is good for health.

Autumn Belle said...

You can try kuali.com for bitter gourd recipes. The link is here:
http://kuali.com/recipes/search.aspx?q=&cu=&mt=&td=&oc=&cm=&ing=Bittergourd&p=1

Mr. H. said...

I've always wanted to try bitter gourd but unfortunately there is just not a long enough growing season in our area. It really sounds like something I would enjoy cooking with. The ones growing in your boxes look very healthy. It is very interesting that the newspaper wrap helps the gourd to grow like that.

p3chandan said...

I loved bitter gourd since I was small as my mom told me the same thing about those good medicinal qualities a peria will do to a woman. I would like to plant one but my children dont find them sedap, so if I have a craving for sambal peria,I have to buy them from the foodstall near my house.Your peria plant looking very healthy, Im surprised they can be grown in Australia.

~Holly~ said...

In Hawaii, we call these bitter melon. I never liked it growing up. I wonder if my palate has evolved? Maybe I should try it again to see if I like it now! Thanks for sharing!

rainfield61 said...

We cook bitter Gourd soup, it helps to "cool" our body.

milka said...

Bitter gourd, timun tua (yellowish, for soup), timun hijau (cucumber), etc... the plants all have the same look, i can't differentiate them. I had a baby timun tua last week but someone plucked and ate it as timun hijau, gulp*~

cikmanggis said...

Lamanya tak singgah kat kebun Diana ni..anak anak Cm tak suka peria jadi jika Cm masak peria kami(cm & hubby) je yang makan.Peria yang jenis kecik(peria katak) sedap dibuat ulam dan di cicah dengan sambal belacan.Boleh cuba dan rasanya kurang pahit & sangat sedap:)

One said...

I like bitter gourd. After reading your post, I think I will grow them too. Why is it doing better in the polystyrene container than the veggie patch? More vitamins in the former?

kitchen flavours said...

I love bitter gourd. I did grow them last year, and did a post on that too. I grew the small variety ones. Your bitter gourd is very green and healthy. Perhaps I should use the polystyrene container too and must remember to wrap the fruits with newspaper. I wonder why wrapping them in newspaper will give a bigger fruit. Very interesting! I have link another herb plant, Tarragon, but I think that the 'seeds' which I've collected are not seeds, just dried flowers! Still have much to learn!

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

Eliza~ You might want to put some salt on the sliced bitter gourd for about 10 minutes and rinse it with water before you cook it (I think some people also do this to eggplant). This will reduce it bitterness as Autumn Belle mentioned in this post comment as well. However, I prefer not too. But for your first time you might want to lessen the bitterness taste before you got used to it.

Takaeko~ We sometime also cook it in soup or in curry, or like a turmeric soup dish with coconut milk.

Patricia~ I hope you give it a try.

Bangchik~ Ants sometime helps to clean the red flesh for us.

Sue~ It does look like a cucumber, I think armenian cucumber from photos look similarly like this one.

Autumn Belle~ I have not tried peria in yong tofu yet. You must introduce me to any shop in Klang that sell this. I remember in my childhood there was a very delicious yong tofu stall in Klang but I cannot remember where it is. Oh bitter gourd tea, this also I did not know. Would like to have a taste of it as well.
Thanks for the recipe link.

Mr. H~ I think if you have 16weeks warm weather you will be able to grow them. They are fast grower similar like cucumber.I found that if you grow them near heat absorbent things like brick wall can help prolong their season last autumn. I was growing them close to the house brick wall and they still produce fruit even the weather is getting cooler.You could try growing them in greenhouse first. I am still trying to make a conclusion why wrapping them up with paper produce better fruit.

P3chandan~ Bitter gourd here only grow during the warm season. Bitter gourd won't take up space if grow vertically and the foliage is so pretty for hiding any background!Growing only 2 plants will be enough for you then. You have work hard making your own veggie bed, I think you should grow vegetable that you like so much too. A special treat for yourself.

Holly~ The funny thing I only learn to love bitter gourd when I ate in a Chinese restaurant at Japan with girlfriends craving for spicy food and this is the only dishes which is really spicy. I got hook with how they cook the bittergourd.

Rainfield61~ I hope our plants will produce a lot to keep our body cool for this summer.

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

Milka~ The someone that eat the baby timun tua must be very adventerous. You have to label them then ;-). However peria@bittergourd have very different foliage with cucumber.

Cikmanggis~ Saya suka lagi peria katak tapi kat sini tak terjumpa pula benihnya. Kat kedai runcit Asian pun tak de jual peria katak. Saya pun boleh kira dengan jari lagi bila baru mula suka makan peria. Dulu selalu mengadu kat mak kenapa lah masak peria kita tak makan.

One ~ I have problem with certain location. The polystyrene boxes received only morning sun. But the one in ground received full sun in the day. Too much exposed to UV not healthy. You knowlah Australia ni ozon nipis.

Kitcen Flavours~ I am not sure either why wrapping them produce bigger fruit. I thought that maybe because here during night the temperature drop a bit so it is colder. Wrapping them maybe keep warm. So they are not exposed to the different day and night temperature. Maybe you can experiment as well in Malaysia and we can compare notes later. Thank you for sharing with us about your tarragon.

shirl said...

Hello there, thanks for visiting my blog - I'm impressed with yours. Very interesting post, I'm going to come back again and look through the links here too. Wishing you a good weeeknd :-)

fer said...

I didn't know gourds until I came to japan. They are quite special. Maybe I will try growing some this year.

My Garden Haven said...

Never tried planting it, but my brother has, and the gourds were huge. Guess he used the right fertilizer.Yours look pretty awesome too.
Rosie

Lrong said...

Bitter gourd is a lovely vegetable... we grow it every season at our potager...

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

shirl~I hope you had fun reading the links.

fer~I did not realised that before people were using gourd to keep water when travelling until I watched my favourite anime~ Inuyasha.

My Garden Haven ~ We are lucky this year that the bitter gourd are doing well.

Lrong~ Yes everything about bitter gourd looks lovely.

Sunita said...

How interesting! I grow bitter gourd too but while the leaves look the same, the seeds and vegetable are slightly different. See my post 'Upwardly mobile vegetables' (http://the-urban-gardener.blogspot.com/2010/09/upwardly-mobile-vegetables.html ) and check out the 4th and 5th photos.
The bitter flavour seems to be the same, though :D

lena said...

hi, i just saw this at your popular posts and came in, the bittergourd caught my attention. Just want to chk with you, i heard people saying growing bittergourds will also bitter the soil, meaning in future, if you plant other crops on the same soil, they will turn a bit bitter too..how true is that?

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

Lena~I have not notice really. But I think it might be due that bitter gourds absorbs some nutrient and causes the soil to be insufficient of that nutrient to make the next plant bitter. If we feed the soil again and replenish nutrients back to the soil, the next plants won't be bitter may be?
Cucumber can be bitter as well with lack of certain nutrient, water or other factors.