The karela plant might not be among the favorites of many people, given its bitter flavour but this vegetable certainly boasts amazing health benefits. In fact, Indian cuisine has a variety of dishes that makes use of the bitter gourd plant as its ingredient. As much as you might be worried about its bitter taste, cooking it with ingredients that aid in subduing the bitter flavour certainly helps in enhancing the taste. Bitter Gourd farming is done at large scale in India.
Besides, it is fairly easy to grow bitter gourd at home in pots and containers. So, give this plant a shot and reap the rewards that you work hard to sow. Your very own karele ka plant will not feel as bitter when you see your hard work come to fruition, trust us on this.
Health Benefits Of Bitter Gourd
This least favourite karela ka plant is loaded with some great nutrients that outweigh its repulsive taste in many ways. Bitter gourd is rich in antioxidants and Vitamin C which helps boost our immunity and also prevents us from contracting various illnesses and diseases. It has a fairly low-calorie content which helps in managing our weight. Bitter gourd is even said to help in fighting diabetes. This is because it has a certain compound that has similar properties to that of insulin. It also helps in reducing the glucose levels in our blood. The antioxidants and vitamins (namely A & C) help in keeping our skin healthy and glowing and keeping our skin blemish-free. It also potentially helps in battling cancer by stopping the increase in cancer cells.
How To Use Bitter Gourd In Food?
The important question that arises is, how to use this karele ka plant in your food? There are several ways this plant can be used in cooking. One way is to use it in a sweet and sour stir fry recipe. Whether you want to add meat to it or not is your choice but you can use the regular recipe while incorporating this vegetable in the mix. Karela chips are also another option for you to try out. Cut and deseed them and coat them in a batter of your choice. Deep fry them and enjoy a hot cup of tea with your chips. Bitter gourd plant can also be used in pickles for some tasty side dishes with dals and other curries.
Bitter Gourd Varieties
Here are some bitter gourd varieties for you to pick from according to your preference:
1] F-1 Hybrid US 555 -This variety has a very heavy yield with green coloured fruits. You can harvest your plant in 50 to 55 days. The average is 180 to 200 gms each.
2] F-1 Hybrid US 444 - This bitter gourd variety has ridged edges with a deep green colour. The harvest can be yielded in 65 days. The vegetable height is 25 to 35 cm with an average weight of 100 to 110 gms.
3] Jhalri Supreme - This variety has more branches than most varieties with strong vines. The colour ranges from green to dark green with glossy colour. The height is 35 to 40 cm with an average weight of 100 to 120 gms.
4] F-1 Hybrid US 8848 - This variety has a dark green colour with vigorous vines and a pointy, ridged texture. The average fruit length is 7 to 8 inches and the weight is 130 to 140 gms.
5] Green Long Special - This vegetable is dark green and can be grown in summer and monsoon. The average length is 15 to 20 cm and the weight is 120 to 130 gms.
6] F-1 Hybrid US 5553 - This hybrid variety is dark green in colour. Its average weight is 100 to 110 gms and the number of plants that can be yielded is around 25.
7] F-1 Hybrid Pure Green - This variety is of a deep green shade with a ridged skin texture. It can be harvested in 60 to 65 days with an average length of 16 to 18 days.Growing Bitter Gourd Plant in Pot
Bitter gourd sowing time is usually in the summer season as it is a warm climate crop. Follow these steps to grow your very own bitter gourd plant in pot at home:-
1] Preparing Your Pots
First, you need to make sure there is a trellis available since the bitter gourd plant is a climber plant. The suggested container dimensions are between 12 to 16 inches in height and 10 to 16 inches in width. You can use any type of pot or container as long as it has an adequate amount of drain holes. Use a potting mix with the soil pH levels between 5.5 to 6.5. The soil should be loamy and rich in nutrients.
2] Sowing Your Seeds
To sow your seeds, soak them overnight to boost the bitter gourd seed germination time. Ensure that the soil is evenly moist so as to have successful germination of seeds as this plant is a summer plant and the water might dry out faster. Sow the seeds half an inch into the soil while leaving five to six inches of space between two plants. Cover the plant with soil loosely and start watering often once they grow into seedlings. Bitter gourd germination time is usually eight to ten days and needs about six to eight hours of sunlight per day.
3] Plant Care
bitter gourd plant care is not daunting at all. Make sure your small karela plant receives its required amount of sunlight each day. Keep the soil well nourished with compost, fertilisers and organic matter. Your small bitter gourd plant will mature well and be healthy if you ensure your soil remains fertile enough. In case your plant is having shoots on the side, then you can prune them.
4] Harvesting Your Plant
Bitter gourd growing time is anywhere between 50 to 60 days. When the plant is 5 to 6 inches, you can harvest the plant. Bitter gourd cultivation should be done at the right time, for a good yield. You can use a knife to cut the fruit when the plant is not very hard and not very fibrous either.
There you have it, your very own guide to growing bitter gourd in pots at home with ease. Follow the steps mentioned and you will have a great yield ahead of you.
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1] What crops should I avoid growing next to bitter gourds?
A1] Avoid growing herbs next to your bitter gourd plant.
2] What is the best climate to grow bitter gourds?
A2] Bitter gourd is a warm-season crop so the summer months are the best time to grow your plant.