Winter melon or ash gourd looks like a watermelon, tastes like cucumber, and has an oblong shape.
Popular in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years, this fruit is great for boosting the body’s antioxidants, fiber, and vitamin C levels.
Moreover, it’s hydrating and doesn’t have a lot of calories so it’s a perfect addition for filling recipes.
This fruit can be stored for a lot of months so when it’s harvested in late summer and autumn, it can be consumed three to four months in the winter.
Its flesh is white and so are its seeds. But, unlike most fruits, this one shouldn’t be eaten raw. Its flesh should be simmered or steamed. Its mild taste pairs greatly with fruits like watermelon and veggie dishes like squash and also with other members of the gourd family.
The Best Health Advantages of Winter Melon
- Low in calories
Ash gourd has few calories only and it’s rich in fiber, as well as vitamins B and C and zinc.
According to research, fruits rich in fiber help you lower the overall calorie intake and consequently, the body weight.
Keeping a healthy weight and boosting your health can be done by consuming foods low in calories and abundant in nutrients.
- Rich in antioxidants
According to research, winter melon is abundant in flavonoids, anthocyanins, and polyphenols. It has the power to lower inflammation and fight off damage caused by free radicals.
In a study published in the Indian Journal of Pharmacology, extracts from winter melon possess antioxidant power, as well as anti-ulcer and anti-inflammatory capacity. Antioxidants protect our bodies from free radicals and prevent cellular damage.
- Betters the digestion
Winter melon contains soluble fiber and helps slow down the digestive processes and reduce the risk of constipation.
According to research, dietary fibers in fruits have a protective influence against IBS, constipation, and diverticular illness.
This fruit will also boost your satiety and prolong your fullness. Since it’s mostly water, it will hydrate the body and encourage regularity.
- It’s a yin food
Like most green veggies, winter melon is considered a green food in Chinese traditional medicine. This means it possesses refreshing properties.
It’s also alkaline and its effect on the body is cooling and neutralizing. What’s more, it will soothe belly discomfort and benefit digestion.
How to Consume Winter Melon?
Remove the skin and seeds and never consume the fruit raw. Cube or slice the flesh and lightly cook it (steamed, grilled, parboiled or roasted).
The flesh will soften and become delicious for soups, casseroles, stews, stir-fries, etc. Avoid cooking it for too long because it will go mushy!
You can roast its seeds and eat them just like you eat pumpkin ones.