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55-65 Days to Maturity (after transplanting). Momordica charantia ’White’. White Bitter Gourd Seeds. Non-GMO, warm-season, annual, hybrid. This white color bitter gourd is a prolific India-type bitter gourd hybrid. Fruit size is about 11-12 inches long, weighing over a half pound. Bitter gourds are nutritionally dense and are recommended as a healthy food by the American Diabetic Association. The immature fruits, as well as the young shoots and leaves, are edible. Karellas are widely used in Southeast Asia and do well when incorporated into the cuisines of those areas. ~ 140 seeds / oz.
Other Common Names: Karella, bitter cucumber, balsam pear, alligator pear, margose, ku gua, jin li zhi, lao pu tao, fu kwa, reishi, niga uri, kiuri, bright beautiful lichee, or ugly grape gourd.
How to Grow White Bitter Gourd
Plant only in late spring or early summer when the risk of frost is well past. Bitter gourd seeds require temperatures of 65 F (18 C) to germinate, but for best results, wait until it is consistently even warmer before direct sowing outdoors. Prepare fertile, well-drained soil. For better germination, pre-sprout seeds indoors by soaking in water for 24 hours. Wrap them in a wet paper towel and keep warm between 75-85°F. Plant when seeds sprout. For more information, see our article on sprouting hard gourd seeds.
Keep the soil moist throughout the growing season. Fertilize when needed; train to climb a vertical support for better air circulation and ease of harvest. Hand pollination is required. To reduce bitterness and delay the fruit from ripening, shield the developing fruits from the sun with a paper bag.
Harvesting White Bitter Gourd
Harvest this variety when it is between 4 and 12 inches long. Collect bitter gourds before they are ripe and when they are still firm. Once these begin to ripen, they go quickly.
These gourds can be very bitter when raw. To prepare it, remove the seeds and pith and then cook or salt. Bitter gourds are often steamed or stuffed. Traditionally they are filled with fish or meat and paired with black fermented soybean paste. The young, tender shoots and leaves can be parboiled and strained before being boiled or sauteed like greens.
Tips From Our Gardeners
“I have learned that Bitter Gourd fruits tend to get lost in their foliage. Train these climbers to grow over an archway and have the fruits hang down for an easy harvest!”
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