Ingredient Name:  Winter melon, white gourd, or ash gourd

Traditional Chinese Name:  (dōng guā)
What is this?
  • Winter melon is actually a vine grown fruit that is eaten as a vegetable
  • The melon itself can grow to be very large, hitting 1-2 m in length and 30 pounds at full maturity
  • Both young and mature melons are used in Chinese soups
  • It is commonly used in dishes, stews, steamed and soups
  • People drink fresh melon juice
  • It is quite popular in Hong Kong to use baby wintermelon (see picture below) in soups

How do I prepare it?

  • For the simple winter melon soup, you simply wash the melon, peel it and cut into large cubes
  • If you’re making the fancy winter melon soup, you will need to carve out the WHOLE melon and double boil it as a soup

Where can I buy this?

  • You can purchase fresh winter melon at most Asian supermarkets – they will be cut into manageable sizes and packaged
  • In Hong Kong wet marts, you can purchase it by the weight, requesting the vendor to cut the amount you wish directly from the whole melon

What is the cost?

  • A large slice of melon, roughly 1/2 pound in weight costs around $1.50 – $2.00 CAD

Any benefits?

  • Winter melons are known to remove heatiness and helps detoxify the body
  • It is ideal in removing phelgm from the lungs
  • It is also particularly effective in regulating blood sugar levels
  • The winter melon skin can also be boiled/eaten for someone with heat stroke or edema due to heat

Any precautions?

  • Since it is a cooling food, it should be carefully consumed if pregnant (less than 3 months into term) or menstruating (can cause contractions)
  • If someone is experiencing diarrhea or loose stool, they should avoid consuming the winter melon seeds

Additional Information?

  • The winter melon can typically be stored for up to 12 months
  • You can also consider using baby wintermelons (whole)
  • Organic baby wintermelon costs $60 HKD each (not cheap for a melon)