The winter melon, also called white gourd or ash gourd, is a vine grown for its very large fruit, eaten as a vegetable. The fruit is fuzzy when young. 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 1-2 metres in length. The word “melon” in the name is somewhat misleading, as the fruit is not sweet. Originally cultivated in Southeast Asia, the winter melon is now widely grown in East Asia and South Asia as well.
Winter melon is also a common name for members of the Inodorus cultivar group of the muskmelon (Cucumis melo L), more commonly known as casaba or honeydew melons.
In North India and Pakistan, the vegetable is used to prepare a candy called Petha. In South Indian cuisine it is used to make curries. 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.
The winter melon requires very warm weather to grow but can be kept through the winter much like winter squash. The winter melon can typically be stored for 12 months. The melons are used in stir fry or to make winter melon soup, which is often served in the scooped out melon, which has been intricately decorated by scraping off the waxy coating.
The shoots, tendrils, and leaves of the plant may also be eaten as greens.
Winter melon is a common name for the inodorus cultivar group of the muskmelon (Cucumis melo L), or one of its members alternatively known as casaba, honeydew, or Persian.
Bengali: চাল কুমড়া chal kumṛa (lit. “thatch pumpkin”)
Burmese: kyauk pha-yon thee
Chinese: 冬瓜 dōngguā (lit. “winter melon”)
English: ash gourd, (Chinese) winter melon, fuzzy melon, green pumpkin, wax gourd, white gourd
French: courge cireuse, courgette velue (lit. “hairy zucchini”)
Hindi: पेठा peṭhā, pethakaddu
Japanese: とうがん tōgan (冬瓜, lit. “winter melon”)
Korean: 동과 donggwa, 동아 donga (冬瓜, lit. “winter melon”)
Malayalam: കുമ്പളങ്ങ kumbalanga
Marathi: कोहळा kohḷa
Portuguese: abóbora d’água (lit. “water pumpkin”), comalenge
Taiwanese: dangguev (冬瓜, lit. “winter melon”)
Tamil: neer poosanikai (நீர்பூசனி)
Telugu: booḍida gummadikaaya
Thai: ฟัก fak
Tulu: ಕರ್ಕು೦ಬುಡ karkumbuda
Urdu: پیٹھہ, peṭhā
Vietnamese: bí đao
There are some of the recipes For this vegetable in Ayesha’s Kitchen as listed below: