Ingredient Name: Winter melon, white gourd, or ash gourd
Traditional Chinese Name: 冬瓜 (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
- 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
- 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
- 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)