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|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||54 kJ (13 kcal)|
|- Dietary fiber||2.9 g|
|Thiamine (vit. B1)||0.04 mg (3%)|
|Riboflavin (vit. B2)||0.11 mg (9%)|
|Niacin (vit. B3)||0.4 mg (3%)|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)||0.133 mg (3%)|
|Vitamin B6||0.035 mg (3%)|
|Vitamin C||13 mg (16%)|
|Calcium||19 mg (2%)|
|Iron||0.4 mg (3%)|
|Magnesium||10 mg (3%)|
|Manganese||0.058 mg (3%)|
|Phosphorus||19 mg (3%)|
|Sodium||111 mg (7%)|
|Zinc||0.61 mg (6%)|
|Link to USDA Database entry
Percentages are relative to
US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
The winter melon, also called white gourd, winter gourd, or ash gourd, is a vine grown for its very large fruit, eaten as a vegetable when mature. It is the only member of the genus Benincasa. The fruit is fuzzy when young. The immature melon has thick white flesh that is sweet when eaten. By maturity, the fruit loses its hairs and develops a waxy coating, giving rise to the name wax gourd, and providing a long shelf life. The melon may grow as large as 80 cm in length. Although the fruit is referred to as a "melon," the fully grown crop is not sweet. Originally cultivated in Southeast Asia, the winter melon is now widely grown in East Asia and South Asia as well.
The winter melon requires very warm weather to grow but can be stored for many months much like winter squash. It is commonly eaten throughout winter in countries of deciduous vegetation such as China, as one of the few vegetables available during winter, hence its Chinese name literally means 'winter melon'. The winter melon can typically be stored for 12 months.
In Vietnamese cuisine, it is called bí đao, which is usually used to make soup or stew. When cooked with pork short ribs, the resulting soup can help produce more milk for breastfeeding mothers.
In Chinese cuisine the melons are used in stir fry or usually combined with pork or pork/beef bones to make winter melon soup, often served in the scooped out melon, carved by scraping off the waxy coating. It is also chopped and candied as wintermelon candy (táng dōng guā) to be commonly eaten at New Year festivals, or as filling for Sweetheart cake (lǎopó bǐng). It has also been used as the base filling in Chinese and Taiwanese mooncakes for the Moon Festival.
Winter melon is called kundol,kondol, or gondol in the Philippines. It is candied (referred to plainly as "kundol")and is used as a pastry filing for hopia. It is also an ingredient in some savory soups (sabaw) and stir-fries (guisado). It is one of the vegetables mentioned in the Filipino folk song "Bahay Kubo."
In North India and Pakistan, the vegetable is also used to prepare a candy called Petha. In South Indian cuisine, it is used to make curries. In Ayurvedic remedies it used to increase appetite also its fresh juice is used to cure kidney stones. The seeds are cooked in milk and taken to increase "sperm count" and to improve sperm locomotion.
Occasionally, it is used to produce a fruit drink which has a very distinctive taste. It is usually sweetened with caramelized sugar, which enhances the taste. In Southeast Asia, the drink is widely marketed as winter melon tea.
In India, Ash gourd is used to make a liquefied dish with curds or buttermilk (a popular traditional South Indian recipe).
See also 
- Double steaming for a Cantonese dish called Winter melon urn (冬瓜盅).
- Sweetheart cake, a famous sweet Chinese pastry made with winter melon.
- "How to make Candied Winter Melon aka Tung Kua(冬瓜糖)". 2009. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Benincasa hispida|
- Multilingual taxonomic information from the University of Melbourne
- Benincasa hispida Click on Benincasa in the list on the lower left.