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
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Nancy June 17, 2016
Thanks for these answers. Now I just have to figure out how to cook. The game's afoot...(groan).
HalfPint June 17, 2016
Here's what someone did to lessen the bitterness of karela,
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)
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. :-)
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.
HalfPint June 16, 2016
more specifically, i think that's an Indian bitter melon, called karela.
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.
HalfPint June 16, 2016
more specifically, i think that's an Indian bitter melon, called karela.
PHIL June 16, 2016
I saw something on TV about it. The Japanese on Okinawa supposedly eat it and live forever
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.
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.
Nancy June 16, 2016
Phil, the vegetable is round.
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.
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