Bitter Melons


"When you have lots of bitter melons, make pinakbet out of them. "

I really mean that, literally and metaphorically. Ampalaya as we call it, is also known as bitter gourd, bitter melon or bitter squash. It is a major star in a popular Filipino dish called Pinakbet, a mixed vegetable stew. 


Guess what? 

This bitter gourd plant sprouted from an organic waste with scraped ampalaya seeds that I buried several months ago. 

One of the former workers in the house saw it and he helped me create a trellis made of a dead tree branch  and nylon threads.  The bitter melons in the first picture were all harvested from this plant. This tropical perennial climber can also grow in pots, but the main vine needs to be supported. 

Ooh, how they love the sun! They bear yellow flowers that are both male and female and are pollinated by insects. As we speak, there are 6 more that are ready for picking in a few days. 


Metaphorically. Well, some say turn lemons into lemonades. Bitter melons remind me of unfavorable situations, bitter people even.  Creatures that keep climbing and spreading, wherever, on whatever and whichever way.  

I felt a sense of satisfaction when I pruned the side shoots this afternoon.  

While doing so, this small act brought a sense of power that I am in control and can snip them anytime. Yes, a full stop. The situation may remain the same. They can keep growing and doing as they please but it's always up to us how we would respond. 

After all, they have a limited life span and eventually they will cease to exist.  The fruit that comes from this plant will nourish me, no matter how bitter the taste. It will always give my body strength, and metaphorically speaking, my soul.  So while we're at it, if we keep getting bitter melons, let's make the most out of it and turn them into vegetable stew. 

Bon Appetit!
Love & light,
Arni



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