Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Bitter Melon Tea

There are some days when people honestly shock themselves at how idiotic they are. Tonight was one of those nights for me. I've had plenty of laughs at my own expense, but more on that later.

Big News: I got my digital camera tonight.
Big Bad News: I don't think the USB cable is compatible with my computer, so no pictures yet.

Lesser News: National Hot Tea Month is coming to a close.
Good News: I have finally made bitter melon tea.

I've had two bright, shiny bitter melons sitting in my refrigerator for several weeks now. I've hardly cooked at all, so it's not really surprising that I hadn't even touched them. Until now. I was going to post about wine. I was going to post about new kitchen toys. Yet the allure of that shiny camera and all the cool pictures I could post drew me back to the bumpy magnificence that is the bitter melon. It looks faintly like a very glossy dragon hide. I've stopped bouncing since I realized I couldn't show you one of my own pictures. So here's someone elses'.

I could only afford two the last time I went to Harry's, so I figured some tea and fried chips were in order. They would make the best use out of them, and I would try a tea that is lauded for its use in dealing with diabetes. I had even been fantasizing about what this tea would taste like. Everything I read told me how bitter they were, but I could take it. I could at least try it. Searching the internet for any particular way to make the tea was disheartening, though I did finally find something that stated the obvious: pour boiling water over melon. Nevertheless, I was ready to shake some enthusiasm back into myself when I reached into the very back of my refrigerator and pulled out a pure piece of culture shock. I dutifully washed, cut, seeded, then sliced before steeping a few pieces in water.

You're probably wondering exactly what it taste like and why I'm going on about it. Well, I'll tell you why. I'm an absolute moron. Weeks of wondering and reading about the bitter bite of the fruit, and I was actually shocked at the taste. Not that it was too bitter- I don't think I made it strong enough for that- but at the fact that I was entirely expecting something SOUR. Honestly, I assure you that I know the difference between sour and bitter. Most of the time anyway, though apparently not now. It stunned me enough to hold the scalding water in my mouth until I'd thoroughly burned myself and almost had to spit it out. I've been laughing ever since. Next time...

Really though, onto the tea. It's nothing spectacular. I could have made it a bit stronger, but it tastes like I just boiled vegetables in water and then drank the runoff. I can't quite place the taste though. Green pepper? Maybe mixed with a little cucumber? It's hard to tell, both because the taste is so new and because I don't have any working taste buds left. Maybe frying them into chips will give me a better basis of comparison. Until then.


Chris said...

Bitter Melon tea is the same as Cerassie tea in the caribbean. You should really try it using the leaves of the bitter melon plant. This is the best way of getting the full bitterness of it. Dalgety ( make a good version in teabag form. Check it out if you're still interested in it. You should be able to pick it up in any caribbean shop if you have one near you.

Anonymous said...

When making this tea take out the seeds as they are toxic to children and make a reaction to people with a certain disease.

Wikipedia Bitter Melon/Gourd.

P.S. I suggest you grind the melon/gourd if you're gonna use the melon instead of leaves. And if you have children but want to make them eat the melon just put honey.