Ampalaya, often called the bitter fruit, is the Philippine name for the bitter gourd or balsam pear. A vine melon or gourd, it is grown in many subtropical climates. Though considered the most bitter of all fruits, it is edible. In appearance, this fruit looks like a deeply ridged cucumber, but the flavor is extremely bitter, especially in smaller, younger less ripe specimen. Salting the ampalaya reduces the bitterness level of the fruit and makes it more palatable.
Things You'll Need
Slice the ampalaya lengthwise, in half.
Run a melon baller or spoon along the inside seed cavity to remove the seeds.
Slice the ampalaya into half-moon shapes, or cut it into chunks, based on your recipe or what you plan to use the ampalaya for.
Place the cut ampalaya in a colander in a single layer.
Cover the ampalaya with an even sprinkling of salt on all of the cut surfaces, and let the bitter gourd sit for 15 minutes. Liquid will drain from the bottom of the colander. These are the bitter juices from the ampalaya.
Rinse the salt from the ampalaya slices and add the fruit to your recipe.
References and ResourcesFlora De La Terre: Bitter Melon
The National Bitter Melon Council: Cooking Bitter Melon