Bitter Melons

A BITTER SUMMER IS A BEAUTIFUL SUMMER and other seasonal food tips

On the food front, bitter is better for Summer and the Fire Element. This is when you get to consume your chocolate dark and ideally sugar free.

SALADS AND SUCH

More significantly, given our tendency toward lighter foods during the hot months, bitter leafy greens are a great way to give your system the seasonal flavour. So be as liberal as you like with rocket, endive, cress, radicchio, dandelion, dill, parsley, carrot tops and any other bitter greens that you can lay your hands on.
These foods will aid digestion, lift your energy and enliven your summer salads.

CLEARING THE SYSTEM

The bitter flavour cools an over-heated system, dries damp and promotes natural cleansing. Should you be wishing to explore this, I suggest you try tea made with bitter herbs and their roots.
Chicory and dandelion (leaf &/or root) are fairly effective. I’ve found, however, that it is chamomile that can really make a difference if you are trying to sweat out a fever or eliminate a stomach bug. It is also very soothing once the elimination (by one means or another) is achieved.

NOTE: If it is a hangover that you are hoping to eliminate, try grapefruit peel tea (also very bitter) with a touch of raw honey.

DON’T FORGET TO COOK

Although we like to eat light when it’s hot it is important to include some cooked food in your diet.
Quick grilling, toasting and stir-fry are good methods for Summer. They are easily applied to nuts/seeds, tempeh/tofu, vegetables and even fruit. Slow roasting (particularly over a fire) is also very effective but I would be inclined to eat the cooked food at room temperature myself. Zucchini, carrot and sweet potato are excellent candidates for this. Toasted sesame oil is also a good pick while the weather is hot.

BITTER GRAINS

Bitter grains are also available for the Summer menu. Quinoa, amaranth and long grain rice – warm or cooled – make great companions to a summer salad. Alternatively, you can build your salad around any of these grains. Any of your baked, grilled or toasted vegetables also make terrific salad enhancers.

BITTER / SWEET

In the face of all this bitterness those sweet Summer fruits are so tempting. Nectarines and raspberries are my personal favourites. Consider, however, that it’s also delicious to match bitter with sweet – even more so as we move into the Late Summer zone.
I’m particularly fond of these two remarkably easy and very beautiful salads that do just that:

BITTER MELONS

This slightly fantastical melon/gourd pictured above is considered the most bitter among fruits and vegetables – which makes it a great summer food. It also has a pronounced, sci-fi look about it and might provoke some interesting table talk at your next dinner party!
Add some to your green juice, use it in a stir fry or stuff and bake it.

Along with the usual qualities of bitter foods, this melon is deemed to have strong medicinal qualities. Principally, it has been known to reduce blood sugar levels, so be careful if you are already taking BSL lowering medication.

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