Momordica (Momordica charantia) has many names - Indian, mad or yellow cucumber. The plant got its name from the Latin word momordicus, which means "biting". The name is not accidental - after all, all parts of the plant are covered with glandular hairs, in contact with which you can get irritation and even burns to the skin. But do not be alarmed, the life of the hairs is not a debt, as soon as the fruits begin to turn yellow-orange, they dry out, and the plant becomes harmless.
However, up to this point it is better to work with gloves and long sleeves.
It also has one more feature - when the stems or leaves are damaged, an unpleasant smell is emitted.
Itself momordica - This is an annual, climbing, very ornamental plant from the Pumpkin family. It is native to the tropical regions of India and Southeast Asia. For Russia, this culture is relatively new, but many amateur gardeners grow it on the balcony, on the windowsill, as well as in greenhouses and even in the open field.
Momordica fruits contain 1.6% protein, 4.2% sugars, 0.2% fat, 1.2% carbohydrates, up to 100 mg% vitamin C, as well as carotene, B vitamins, phosphoric acid and calcium salts. The seeds contain up to 555 mg% fatty oil, which is very rich in carotene.
Green young fruits with sourish and bitter, but pleasant-tasting pulp are used for food. To reduce bitterness, pre-young unripe fruits are soaked for 3-6 hours in cold salted water, periodically changing the water. Salads, seasonings for meat dishes are prepared from the fruits, they are boiled and fried, pickled and salted, and jam is made from them. They are also used in cosmetology for the preparation of lotions, face masks.
Momordica is very decorative at any stage of development, even when it is not blooming or bearing fruit. She has slender long stems up to 2 meters or more, large light green carved leaves, small but very fragrant yellow flowers with a jasmine scent, and unusual fruits. That is why momordica in summer cottages is often planted as an ornamental plant along hedges and arbors.
The flowering of momordica coincides with the beginning of active shoot formation. Her flowers are dioecious, bright yellow, fragrant, female flowers are slightly smaller than male barren flowers. First, male flowers appear on the plant, and then female flowers.
Let's talk about the fruits in more detail. They are quite large, 15-25 cm long and up to 7 cm in diameter, have an elongated-oval shape, coarsely tuberous (warty). At the beginning they are light green, and as they ripen, they become yellow-orange, sometimes intensely orange, carrot in color.
Inside the fruit is a juicy dark ruby pericarp. It tastes like ripe persimmon, and the pulp itself is like a pumpkin.
The seeds are quite large, similar in size and shape to those of watermelon. They are flat, brownish-brown, with a beautiful pattern, covered with a sweet, juicy, bright red shell. Usually the fruit contains 15-30 seeds. When ripe, the fruit cracks in the lower part into lobes resembling lily petals, opens, the seeds shoot out with force. This is why Momordica is ranked among the mad cucumbers.
Momordika agricultural technology can be found in the encyclopedia on our portal, see Momordika.