Bitter melon, also known as balsam pear, is a tropical and subtropical fruit grown in Southeast Asia. It’s a gourd-like squash that’s round or oblong in shape, with warty exterior skin and white flesh inside. Bitter melon has a bitter taste but can be eaten raw or cooked.
If you have bought some bitter melons or harvested them from your garden, you may wonder how long bitter melons will last.
Bitter melon can be stored at room temperature for up to three days. Bitter melon will last for up to 4 days when stored properly in the refrigerator. If you need to keep the longer, you can freeze the bitter melon, which will last for about 3 months.
Can Bitter Melon Go Bad?
The good news is that bitter melon doesn’t go bad quickly. It can last up to two weeks in the refrigerator if stored properly.
If you buy it fresh, store it whole and unwashed in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer. When you’re ready to use it, remove the seeds first because they can cause stomach upset if eaten raw.
If you buy it canned or frozen in syrup, store it in the pantry until you’re ready to use it. Once opened, transfer any unused portion into an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to three days.
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Bitter melon is typically available year-round but peaks during summer months when it’s more plentiful and juicy.
If you notice any of these signs of spoilage, throw out your bitter melon:
An off smell – A sour or foul odor should be a big warning sign that your bitter melon is no longer edible. This could be caused by improper storage conditions such as being left out in the open air or placed too close to other foods.
Discolored skin – If you notice any discoloration on your bitter melon, such as yellowing or brown spots, discard it immediately because it could mean bacteria growth within the fruit.
Mold – You should also look for any mold or mildew on the skin of the fruit. This means that there was moisture present when it was stored. Bitter melons have a very high water content, so they will spoil quickly if they have been sitting in water.
How To Store Bitter Melon
While it is possible to store fresh bitter melon for up to one week at room temperature, this practice should not be encouraged because it increases the chances of bacterial growth and contamination during storage. Bacterial growth can result in food poisoning if consumed by humans or animals.
In addition to bacterial contamination, other factors such as heat, light, and moisture can cause bitter melon to spoil quickly once it has been harvested from the field.
When properly stored in the refrigerator between 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius) and 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius), bitter melon can last up to two weeks before spoiling occurs.
Can You Freeze Bitter Melon?
Yes! You can freeze bitter melon for up to 3 months. To freeze, cut the fruit into pieces before cooking it or serving it raw; then place the pieces on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze them until they are hard enough to transfer into freezer bags without crushing them; seal tightly and store in your freezer until you’re ready to use them again (they should keep for about 3 months).
When you’re ready to eat your frozen bitter melon again, just thaw it at room temperature for about an hour or two before using it as desired (the texture won’t be quite as good as fresh bitter
How To Keep Bitter Melon Lasting Longer
Bitter melon is available in many grocery stores and can be found during the summer months in most Asian markets. If you want to keep it around longer, here are some tips on how to store bitter melon:
1. Wash the bitter melon thoroughly before using it or storing it. Make sure there are no dirt spots or blemishes on the skin of the vegetable.
2. Store the bitter melon in a dry place at room temperature if possible. If not, then you may use your refrigerator or freezer without any problems since bitter melon doesn’t spoil easily unless there are signs of mold growth on it or if you notice any other signs of spoilage (such as slime forming on it).
3. Make sure that your bitter melon does not get wet at all during storage because this can cause bacteria to grow on the vegetable.
Is the bitterness of bitter melon harmful?
The good news is that the bitterness of bitter melon is not harmful, and most people can eat it without worrying about getting sick. The bad news is that bitter melon can cause diarrhea if you eat too much of it.