By the name “melon” people might think that it is a fruit but actually it is a large vine vegetable,with pale white flesh and a fuzzy interior.Being a sole member of “Benincasa” winter melon goes by many different names,including ash gourd,fuzzy gourd.
As an immature vegetable,there is a slight sweetness to the melon but upon maturation that sweetness disappears into a more dry (tasteless) flavor similar to a cucumber.
The juice of the vegetable can also be used in a variety of healthy beverages.
Nutritional Benefits Of Winter Melon:
The nutritional value of winter melon is what makes it so important for human health.The high concentration of Vitamin C,Vitamin B2 has a variety of effects on the body.It has high levels of dietary fiber,zinc,iron etc.
Serving size = 100 g
Total Lipid 0.2
Vitamin C 13
Vitamin B-6 0.04
Vitamin B-12 0
Vitamin A 0
Vitamin D 0
Fatty Acids 0.02
Health Benefits Of Winter Melon:
Winter Melon has high levels of vitamin B2,more than 11% of your daily requirement in a single serving.By increasing the amount of vitamin B2 in your system,we can reduce the chances of eye disorders.
2.Stimulates Growth & Development:
As winter melon is a component in the production of collagen,which is one of the basic building blocks of cells,tissues,muscles,bones and blood.
3.Helps in Digestion:
Dietary fiber is an important part of any healthy diet,as it can optimize digestion and prevent many gastrointestinal issues,including constipation,bloating,cramping etc.
4.Helps in weight loss:
As it is high in fiber and relatively low in calories,winter melon is called as weight loss tool.
5.Protects the heart:
With high levels of potassium and vitamin C,winter melon is a protector of cardiovascular health.Potassium functions as a vasodilator,meaning that it can help to lower the blood pressure by releasing tension in the blood vessels and arteries.
Winter melon is a powerful immune system booster.Vitamin C can stimulate the production of white blood cells.
7.Detoxifies the body:
In some of the medicines,winter melon is often used as a diuretic which can help to detoxify the body.Urination eliminates excess toxins,fats,salts and water from the body.
Henceforth,any vegetable that can induce detoxification will help your liver and kidney function properly.
Fun facts of winter melon:
1.Winter melon is also called as wax gourd,ash gourd,Chinese preserving melon,Chinese Water Melon,White Pumpkin etc.
2.This is originally from South Asia and Southeast Asia but now grows on throughout Asia.
Side effects of winter melon:
1.People suffering from obesity should consume winter melon in minimal dose.
2.It is not ideal to consume if someone is suffering from asthma,cold or bronchitis as it is known to increase mucus ( kapha in Sanskrit)
How to buy and store winter melon?
1.Ensure that the gourd has a smooth outer skin, free from blemishes and is firm to hold.
2.Outer skin of the winter melon should be in dark green or pale green.
3.We can keep the melon under refrigerated conditions.
4.If a part of the fruit is cut,cover with the newspaper and later store it.
North Indian Dish:
Ash gourd stir fry:
1.1 small ash gourd sliced.
2.1 tsp ginger paste
3.1 tsp cumin powder
4.1 tbsp coriander powder
5.1 tsp green chilli paste
6.1 tsp cumin seed
7.1/2 tsp turmeric powder
8.1/2 tsp masala powder
9.1 bay leaf
10.Salt to taste
11.Oil as per the requirement
1.Heat the oil in a pan.Add the cumin seeds,bay leaf and green chillies.
2.Add sliced gourd and saute well by adding salt and turmeric powder
3.Cover it until it becomes soft.Add sugar and mix well.
4.Add ghee and masala powder and mix well.
5.Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with rotis,chapatis.
South Indian Dish:
Ash gourd coconut curry recipe:
Coconut is the main ingredient and the curry has a strong flavour of spices as well as the coconut which gives out a wonderful flavor and aroma.
Serving size = 100gm
1.500 gm Ash gourd.
2.1/2 tsp turmeric powder
3.Salt to taste
4.Oil for cooking
To be roasted and ground to paste:
1.4 dry red chilies.
2.1/2 cup freshly grated coconut
3.30 gm tamarind water
4.1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
5.1/2 tsp cumin seeds
6.2 tsp coriander seeds
7.2 tsp sesame seeds
8.3 tbsp jaggery
1.1 tsp cooking oil
2.1/2 tsp mustard seeds
3.3 to 4 curry leaves.
4.1 dry red chilies
1.Cook the ash gourd in the pressure cooker with little water,turmeric powder and salt just for 1 whistle.Wait until the pressure releases.
2.Soak the tamarind in hot water for about 15 min,squeeze the pulp and keep the water.
3.Dry roast the spices and other ingredients and prepare the paste along with the grated coconut.
4.Heat the pan add the ash gourd which has been pressure cooked.Add the above paste,add little water and mix well.
- For the seasoning,heat oil in a small pan.Add the mustard seeds and allow it to crackle.Later add the curry leaves and red chilies.Add this seasoning to the curry and garnish with coriander leaves.
6.Serve hot with steamed rice.