Finally a bumper crop of bitter gourds this year. I'd like to save some for winter eating. I've seen them for sale in the frozen food section of Asian markets. Should they be blanched first or any other recommendations. Thanks.
Blanching is best for general nutritional value, though it will sharply reduce the amount of vitamin C. Of course defrosted bitter melon won't have the same crunch or texture, but it still cooks up quite well, especially when fried.
I read one website where the bitter gourd was sliced thinly before freezing. Has anyone compared freezing intact versus cut up ones? Thanks for your input in advance. I am saving them for my son's beer making as a substitute for hops.
" I am saving them for my son's beer making as a substitute for hops."
An interesting idea. For that application, it might work better if the bitter melon were dehydrated raw, to preserve flavor which might otherwise be lost in blanching & freezing. You might also try using the leaves instead. Some of our Filipino friends actually prefer the flavor of the young leaves & vine tips to that of the fruit, they will gleefully trim my vines when they begin to outgrow the trellis.
I've blanched & frozen slices of bitter melon by freezing them in a single layer on cookie sheets, then quickly vacuum sealing the frozen pieces. This is a good method if you intend to use small quantities. You can also freeze them in larger quantities like any other vegetable, but I still recommend vacuum sealing, because bitter melon gets freezer burn very quickly.
The frozen bitter melon will not be as crisp as when fresh, but since DW uses them in an egg dish or in soup, that really doesn't matter. Rapid cooling after blanching is especially important for bitter melon, to preserve as much of the texture as possible.