Bitter melon

Favorite Ways (+Recipes!) to Include Bitters in Your Diet

Hope you enjoyed the last detailed memo on bitters! Now let’s get into some food resources. I have SO many for you!! I’ve broken it down into veggies, herbs, roots that can be eaten/imbibed as a concoction, the citrus family, and sweets 🙂 And then scroll to the bottom to get a family recipe using bittermelon!


Leafy greens (salad formula, salads) such as arugula /kale/ brussels sprouts (easier to get and qualify as crucifers) . Less easy to get and less easy to acquire the taste of: endive and dandelion greens and radicchio. Here’s a recipe for radicchio that everyone in our cookbook club loved.

Bittermelon….see recipe below. This is a vegetable also used in the Blue Zone of Okinawa Japan. Who knows about whether it alone truly causes increased longevity (doubtful–it’s never just one thing!). It is purported to be a blood sugar regulator though as well. Consider using it in Japanese-style stir fries like this recipe!

Bitter Herbs: peppermint, parsley, lemon balm, lemon verbena, lavender, ginger, fennel, clove (all have bitter properties of varying degree and also a multitude of other phytochemicals)

Bitter Roots: chicory root (famed New Orleans shop Cafe Du Monde uses chicory root in its coffee blend), dandelion root (think of Dandy coffee) You can get some of these as teas in our dispensary.

Bitter Citrus: lemon/lime/grapefruit, including the white pith…this works when you make for example easy-peasy preserved lemons or when you consider tossing a quarter or a half a lemon into a fresh juice.

Bitter Chocolate: Yes bittersweet chocolate but check the label….we are looking at 70% or above cacao…if you have found an 85% or so, try a square but don’t expect it to taste sweet like a chocolate dessert….think of it as a polyphenol-rich, bitters-full “medicine”.

An Andhra-style Family Recipe for Bittermelon pickle/chutney

This recipe has not been transcribed. I thought this time it would be lovely to see a “oral transcription” of a typical way an older person may teach a younger person how to cook something 🙂 This recipe is courtesy of my cousin-in-law Sravani!  

– cut 3 bitter melon 1-2 inches long (peel and cut into pieces)

– deep fry in the oil (not exactly deep fry but use lot of oil)

-make garlic paste with chili’s powder and salt. (1 to 1.5 tsp chili powder with 3-4 garlic cloves plus ½ tsp salt up to 1 tsp salt) 

– add this to deep fried pieces.

– add more chilli powder per taste.

– separately,  in very hot oil add brown mustard seeds, cumin, curry leaves fresh garlic, turmeric powder. (my add on: just a 1/4 tsp mustard seed, 1/2 tsp cumin seed, 2 stems of curry leaves, 2 sliced fresh garlic cloves, and 1/2 tsp turmeric powder)

– add this to the curry and mix well.

– if eating immediately squeeze a lemon and mix. That will cut the heat a bit too.

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