When I was young, I extremely disliked ampalaya (bitter gourd) because of its bitterness. My mother regularly cooked pinakbet (a Filipino recipe) and I always had to remove the ampalaya bits from my plate. My dislike for this vegetable remained for a long time. Then in one of my college days, I got very weak and my friend Lilibeth cooked for me a recipe with mongo beans (green beans) with LOTS of ampalaya. She convinced me to eat more of this to regain my energy because I looked very pale. After consuming a generous amount, I felt stronger and better. So from then on, I started loving ampalaya.
It is no secret that ampalaya is a healthy food. It is rich in nutrients like dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants. It contains substances that can help reduce blood sugar levels. As an anti-oxidant, it helps scavenge free radicals that play a role in aging, cancers and various disease processes. And in case you are having indigestion or constipation, ampalaya can help relieve this discomfort.
Five days before the start of the holy week (Palm Sunday until Good Friday), I prepared pickled cucumber, carrot, pineapple and bitter gourd. I will be serving it with fried fish during the holy week.
- 1 cup water for pickling solution
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1 1/4 cups white sugar
- 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoon of salt for pickling solution
- 5 tablespoon of salt for the ampalaya (bitter gourd)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3 mini ampalaya (bitter gourd), peeled, halves, deseed and sliced to desired bite size
- 1 carrot, peeled and sliced to desired bite size
- 1 cup cucumber, peeled and sliced to desired bite size
- 1 red onion (large size), peeled and sliced thinly
- 1 cup fresh pineapple, sliced thinly into bite size (preferably from Dole or Del Monte from Philippines)
- 30g Ginger, peeled and sliced thinly
- 2 gloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
- After soaking the ampalaya with water for an hour or more to slightly reduce the bitterness, rinse and lightly squeeze together with 5 teaspoons of salt for about 3 minutes and set aside for 30 minutes.
- Rinse the ampalaya to remove the salt.
- In medium saucepan, pour the water, vinegar, sugar, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper and bring to boil. Turn off the heat just after it starts boil and all the sugar has melted.
- Toss the ampalaya, carrot, cucumber, onion, pineapple, ginger and garlic. Put them in the jar.
- Pour pickling solution into the jar.
- Let it cool down, then cover and refrigerate. It will start tasting good after 3 days.