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40-55 Days to Maturity (after transplanting). Momordica charantia ’India’. India Bitter Gourd Seeds. Non-GMO, warm-season, annual, hybrid. The India-type bitter melon has dark green skin; this hybrid's 6-8 inch fruits are heavily warted. The spindle-shaped melons taper at both ends and are generally narrower than a Chinese-type bitter melon. Growers prefer this variety for its early maturity and long-lasting, generous yield. Bitter gourds are packed with nutrients and are recommended as a healthy food by the American Diabetic Association. The young fruits and the immature shoots and leaves are edible. Approx 125 seeds / oz.
Other Common Names: Karella, bitter cucumber, balsam pear, alligator pear, margose, ku gua, goya, jin li zhi, lao pu tao, fu kwa, reishi, niga uri, kiuri, bright beautiful lichee, or ugly grape gourd.
How to Grow India Bitter Gourd
Plant outside in early summer when the risk of frost is well past. Bitter gourd seeds demand temperatures of at least 65°F (18°C) to germinate. For optimal results, wait until it is consistently warm before direct sowing outdoors. For improved germination rates, pre-sprout seeds indoors by soaking them in water for 24hrs. Wrap the seeds in a wet paper towel and keep them warm (between 75-85°F). For more detailed information, see our article about sprouting hard gourd seeds.
Maintain the moisture in the soil throughout the growing season. Add additional fertilizer if needed; train to climb a vertical support for more air circulation and an easy harvest. Hand pollination is a must for high yields. To lessen the bitterness and delay the ripening process, protect the developing fruits from direct sunlight with a paper bag.
Harvesting India Bitter Gourd
Harvest this variety when it is between 4 and 8 inches long. Remove the bitter gourds from the plant before they are ripe and when they are still firm. Once they begin to ripen, they overmature quickly.
These gourds can be very bitter when uncooked. To prepare it, remove the seeds and pith and then cook or salt the slices. Popular in Indian dishes, it is often prepared with potatoes and served with yogurt to offset the bitter flavor. The young shoots and leaves should be parboiled and rinsed before being boiled or sauteed like greens.
Tips From Our Gardeners
“I recommend stir-frying the sliced bitter melon with other vegetables and meat. In China, it is traditionally cooked in a soup with black beans and pork.”
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