Yes, they’re shaped weird and come in a variety of different colors, but gourd vegetables are one of the delicious delights unique to this time of year. Often overshadowed by the king of the gourds – pumpkin – smaller gourds and squashes deserve a bit of attention too. Trust us, your palate and your body will thank us.
Gourd Vegetables to add to your diet
Try bottle gourd if you typically like squash and zucchini. The texture and consistency are very similar although the taste is less sweet and more watery. It is chock full of fiber which makes it a great cleansing vegetable for restoring and maintaining kidney and liver function. It also goes by the name Calabash and is popular in several Vietnamese, Indian, and Middle Eastern dishes.
If you’re more adventurous, you might try Bitter Gourd. An undisputed, yet relatively unknown superfood high in antioxidants, B vitamins, calcium (twice the amount of spinach). It also has high levels of beta carotene (twice that of broccoli), and potassium (double the amount in a banana. All you have to get past is the odd, bright green, bumpy appearance and, well, as the name suggests a noticeably bitter taste. Many compare it to the bitterness of asparagus or Brussels sprouts. Although most agree the gourd’s flavor is more pungent. It’s mostly used in curries or made into Karela juice which is great for digestion as it aids in regular bowel movements.
Ash gourd (also known as winter melon)
Is a long eggplant-shaped with a smooth, greenish-white skin. Found mainly in Asian food stores and supermarkets, the winter melon is treasured for its antacid/stomach-soothing properties as well as its stabilizing effect on blood sugar. More delicate than other squash and gourds, ash gourd cooks almost completely away when boiled in water, making it a popular addition to soups, stews and stir-fries. However, it is much tastier when not overcooked and allowed to remain lightly crisp.