Buying, Cooking, and Recipes
Chinese winter melons go by various names: White gourd, Winter gourd, Wax gourd, Sufed Kaddu, Chinese preserving melon, Ash gourd, Tallow gourd, etc. It comes from the gourd family named ‘The Cucurbitaceae.’ It originated from south and southeast Asia and is now cultivated pretty much all around. The wax gourd plant is an annual plant.
The vegetable itself grows from a sizeable Yellow flower and then develops the shape of a watermelon when mature. A fun fact is that while immature winter melons are considered fruits, mature ones are considered vegetables and are consumed as so.
The color of its skin is best described as Pistachio color. And the texture is somewhat waxy, which gives birth to one of its names, ‘Wax gourd’. And according to some experts, the theory behind the name ‘Winter melon’ is that the waxy texture of its skin reminds people of snow. They can range up to 80 centimeters in length and can weigh up to 40 pounds.
Chinese winter melon uses:
There are varieties of different uses of Chinese winter melons. But the most common use of it is to make soup with it. Other uses of it include being stir-fried, baked, consumed like desserts, candied, pickled, or simply cut raw and added in a salad.
The edible part is the white flesh that you will see once you peel the skin off. The white flesh often resembles the white parts of a normal watermelon. It has a very mild taste, and oftentimes, that taste resembles the taste of cucumbers.
What you need to do with this part depends on what you plan to make out of it. But keep in mind that the longer you cook it, the softer it gets. Since they absorb the flavors of the spices you add with them, they tend to taste the best when they are stir-fried or in a soup.
But sometimes for appearance purposes, the outer layer of the winter melon, including its skin, is utilized as a pot for its soup.
Nutritional value of Chinese winter melon:
Chinese winter melons provide a range of nutritional values and health benefits. While winter melons are low in fat and calories, they are a great source of Vitamin C, Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), and zinc (low amount), thus working as antioxidants in your body and keeping you protected from free radicals and cell damage.
Their Vitamin C properties help with anti-aging and maintaining healthy skin. Plus, their seeds help reduce melanin production in the body, which improves the appearance of the skin. Not to mention, these melons are highly alkaline and contain about 96% water. Their water contents help promote weight loss and maintain a healthy weight.
That being said, Chinese medication considers them to be effective for anti-inflammation as well as against hypertension.
But there is more. These Chinese winter melons are rich in fiber that help with digestion and thus improve gut health in the long run. The Riboflavin properties also help to improve heart and eye health. It also helps reduce the symptoms of migraines.
These are the basics one needs to know about Chinese winter melons. Keep in mind that no matter how you decide to consume them, due to their wide range of nutritional values, they will provide health benefits in one way or another.