Ash gourd, also known as Benincasa hispida, winter melon, wax gourd, white pumpkin, and Chinese watermelon, is a fruit native to parts of Southern Asia.
It grows on a vine and matures into a round or oblong melon that’s approximately the same size and color as a watermelon. Immature ash gourd is coated in fine hairs which disappear as the gourd ripens. The exterior color can vary between dark green to a pale gray. Once ripen, the exterior morphs into a powdery ash-colored coating that gives the fruit its common name “ash gourd”.
Ash Gourd comprises 96% water and is very low in calories, fat, protein, and carbs. Yet, it remains rich in fiber and provides beneficial vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and B-complex vitamins such as niacin, thiamine and riboflavin. Ash gourd is also a valuable source of minerals like iron, potassium, zinc, calcium and magnesium.
The taste of ash gourd is very mild, similar to cucumber and therefore can be incorporated into all kinds of soups, stews, salads, smoothies, desserts, juices or eaten raw similarly to cucumber.
It offers various health benefits and has been used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. The yogis of India have long regarded ash gourd as one of the most naturally energizing foods due to its high quotient of what yogic science refers to as “prana”, or vital life energy. To retain maximum vital energy, ash gourd should be eaten raw. See my post on Pranic Food
Ash gourd & Yogurt Salad Recipe
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds
1/2 handful Curry Leaves
Add olive oil in a small pan over medium eat
Add mustard seeds and reduce heat when they start to pop
Add curry leaves and stir until they are crispy
– 1 medium size ash gourd
– 200g plain yogurt (milk or plant based)
– Handfull of coriander leaves
– Salt and pepper
– Wash and peel ash gourd, remove part with seeds and grate finely (squeeze out water)
– Mix ash gourd, yogurt, seasoning and salt & pepper to taste
– Wash and chopped coriander leaves and decorate