Despite repeated warnings I found online that bitter melon is most definitely an acquired taste, it was such an eye-catching, funky-looking item I kept seeing at the farmers market so I decided to pickle it. I have to say, pickled bitter melon is also an acquired taste and while I ignorantly expected the pickling to dull the – you guessed it – bitter taste, it didn’t fully do that and I don’t know if these are gonna be a huge hit amongst my fellow pickle fiends slash fans.
BUT it’s good to experiment every so often and bitter melons are cheap AF so this wasn’t a huge strain on my resources. Definitely tried to go with some Asian flavors here – rice vinegar, ginger – might tweak in the future with more salt and/or sugar but without further ado, here’s the pickled bitter melon recipe I made this week.
Pickled Bitter Melon Recipe
Makes 2 pints
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup rice vinegar
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp pickling salt
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper per pint
- 1-inch piece of fresh ginger per pint
- 2-3 medium-sized bitter melons
- Cut off ends of bitter melons then cut in half length-wise. Remove inner seeds and white pith with a spoon.
- Bring a pot of water to boil. Slice bitter melon halves into “C”s, about 1/4-inch thick.
- Once water is boiling, parboil bitter melon pieces for about 30 seconds until just tender and they turn a brighter green. This will hopefully remove some of the bitter taste.
- Drain bitter melon and let cool in an ice bath to stop cooking process.
- While bitter melon pieces are cooling, bring the measured water, rice vinegar, sugar and salt to a low boil until salt and sugar are fully dissolved.
- Once cooled, drain bitter melon from ice bath. Add red pepper and ginger pieces to jar(s).
- Add bitter melon to jar(s). Cover with rice vinegar brine.
- Cover with lids, shake to distribute red pepper and ginger pieces.
- Allow to cool and secure again with lid.
- Recommended use: TBH, even when pickled, these have a pretty powerful taste of bitter melon essence. I would let sit for at least a week before trying them out.