Mystery vegetable.

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

  • Posted by: Nancy
  • June 16, 2016
  • 1092 views
  • 13 Comments
E4c06aa4 11bc 4a96 8eb2 34d38542929f  imag0034

9 Comments

Review our Code of Conduct
Don't send me emails about new comments
702551
702551 June 16, 2016

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.

Review our Code of Conduct
Don't send me emails about new comments
PHIL
PHIL June 16, 2016

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.

Review our Code of Conduct
Don't send me emails about new comments
Nancy
Nancy June 16, 2016

Phil, the vegetable is round.

702551
702551 June 16, 2016

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.

Review our Code of Conduct
Don't send me emails about new comments
PHIL
PHIL June 16, 2016

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

Review our Code of Conduct
Don't send me emails about new comments
HalfPint
HalfPint June 16, 2016

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

Review our Code of Conduct
Don't send me emails about new comments
HalfPint
HalfPint June 16, 2016

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

Review our Code of Conduct
Don't send me emails about new comments
pierino
pierino June 16, 2016

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 June 16, 2016

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.

Review our Code of Conduct
Don't send me emails about new comments
702551
702551 June 16, 2016

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)

Review our Code of Conduct
Don't send me emails about new comments
702551
702551 June 17, 2016

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 June 17, 2016

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

Review our Code of Conduct
Don't send me emails about new comments
HalfPint
HalfPint June 17, 2016

Here's what someone did to lessen the bitterness of karela,
https://lovecookingfood.wordpress.com/2013/07/10/bitter-gourd-not-bitter-anymore/

Showing 9 out of 9 Comments Back to top
Recommended by Food52