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Mystery vegetable.

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Hi guys! Back after a while away. You were great a while ago when I had a mystery veg, which turned out to be squash Got this unusual produce yesterday, green, knobby, about 7x2" or 18x2 cm for the world outside NAmer, but don't know what it is or how to use it. Does anyone know this orphan vegetable's name? Is it even a veg? Yours in suspense, Nancy

Nancy is a trusted home cook.

asked about 2 years ago

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13 answers 1061 views
cv
cv
added about 2 years ago

The picture is a bit small and hard to see, but it appears to be nopal (or nopales), a Mexican cactus. There are over a hundred species native to Mexico.

You can use Food52 search engine or a general purpose search engine (Google, Yahoo, whatever) for "nopales" for culinary suggestions.

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PHIL
PHIL

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added about 2 years ago

I think its a bitter melon. it is hard to tell because it looks flat in the photo but I don't think it is. Too gnarly to be nopales I think.

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Nancy
Nancy

Nancy is a trusted home cook.

added about 2 years ago

Phil, the vegetable is round.

cv
cv
added about 2 years ago

Phil might be right. Is it cylindrical (bitter melon) or is it flat (nopales)?

The photo is so poor it's hard to tell.

Plus the Imperial-to-metric conversion is weird. You state that is 7x2" but then say it is 18x2 cm. Two centimeters is less than an inch, the conversion makes no sense.

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PHIL
PHIL

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added about 2 years ago

I saw something on TV about it. The Japanese on Okinawa supposedly eat it and live forever

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HalfPint
HalfPint

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added about 2 years ago

more specifically, i think that's an Indian bitter melon, called karela.

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HalfPint
HalfPint

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added about 2 years ago

more specifically, i think that's an Indian bitter melon, called karela.

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pierino
pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added about 2 years ago

Definitely not nopales which are made from a cactus paddle. It looks like bitter melon to me also. I know I've seen it before somewhere.

Susan W
Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 2 years ago

Looks like bitter melon to me. Nopales are flat and mostly smooth except where the needles are/were. I've not cooked with it (do you cook it?), but I have seen it often at H Mart, my Asian grocery store.

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cv
cv
added about 2 years ago

Okay, I have access to a computer with a large monitor (my initial response was posted from a small notebook computer) and it is indeed a bitter melon.

I can find them at several stands at my town's farmers market. I'm sure a search of "bitter melon" either here or a general search engine will turn up recipes.

There are several ways of reducing the astringency, I have yet found one adequate to work for my taste buds.

Intriguing vegetable, but I'm still scratching my head over how best to handle it despite the fact that a half a billion people on this planet probably enjoy it. I'm probably just a wimp. ;o)

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cv
cv
added about 2 years ago

I'll revise my statement. There are likely a couple billion people on this planet (world population is currently estimated at 7.4 billion) who eat bitter melon, not my weak estimate I made above. :-)

Nancy
Nancy

Nancy is a trusted home cook.

added about 2 years ago

Thanks for these answers. Now I just have to figure out how to cook. The game's afoot...(groan).

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HalfPint
HalfPint

HalfPint is a trusted home cook.

added about 2 years ago

Here's what someone did to lessen the bitterness of karela,
https://lovecookingfood...