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Bitter Melon Pickles

September 1, 2012

This is my new favorite thing to do with bitter melon. Bitter melon is one of those love-it-or-hate-it vegetables. I started loving it when I tried a super-salty pickled version at a friend’s place. He let the bitter melon sit in finadene (for you mainlanders, that’s Guam’s favorite condiment, a mixture of hot chiles, soy sauce, and lemon juice or vinegar) for a day or so. This is my version, which isn’t as salty. These are delicious as a snack, or with rice and a fried egg on top, it’s dinner.Image

3 medium-sized bitter melons
2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons kosher salt (plus additional for step 1)
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes (or to taste)
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh giner

1. Prep the bitter melon. Slice them in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and cottony bits with a spoon. Next, slice crosswise. I like thick slices, about 1/2 inch, but if you want your pickles less bitter, slice them at 1/4 inch. Put the slices in a colander in the sink and sprinkle generously with salt. Let stand about 20 minutes, then rinse and drain the slices.
2. Put the bitter melon and the ginger in a clean one-quart glass jar (or equivalent).
3. Make the brine: combine vinegar, salt, sugar, and chile flakes in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil (or heat sufficiently for the salt and sugar to dissolve). Remove from heat.
4. Pour the brine over the bitter melon slices and ginger in the jar. Screw on a plastic lid and refrigerate. The pickles will need a couple of days to reach their full potential.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Sheryl permalink
    September 20, 2012 2:44 pm

    I wonder, can I find bitter melons here? This looks delicious.

    • arlemonbar permalink*
      September 21, 2012 8:17 am

      I bet you can get them at that great farmers market in Japantown!

  2. Mimi permalink
    July 19, 2015 3:24 am

    Thanks for the recipe I am growing them and love to try this version

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