Sie sind auf Seite 1von 19


Bitter gourd, MomordicacharantiaL., is a native vegetable in almost all the countries in the
Southeast Asian region (Chang &Palada, 2003). It has been called in different names depending on the
location of its cultivation. It is termed bitter melon or balsam pear in the United States of America, karela
in India (Chang & Palada, 2003), nigaiuri in Japan, fukwa in China, and ampalaya in the Philippine. It is
also produced in Australia in the states of Queensland and New South Wales and in the northern and
western parts of the continent but only in minimal volumes (Morgan and Midmore, 2002).

Figure 1. Bitter gourd is known its distinct fruit flavor

Bitter gourd belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family and is an example of a climbing vine plant (Rudrappa,
2009). It has a green outer covering that appears to be uneven and bumpy, due to irregularly-shaped
ridges that run vertically along it. It has a fleshy white internal mass that is the edible part of the plant
(Rudrappa, 2009). According to Tiziana et al., (2008) the fruit contains high amount of folate, iodine,and
vitamins C and K and also has high amounts of fiber and iron (Hettiarachchy, 2007). In addition to this, it
contains different phytochemicals and biological compounds. Phytochemicals or phytonutrients are
chemical compounds that are present naturally in plants. Phytochemicals of which includes the carotenoid
lycopene, flavonoids, isoflavones, polyphenols, plant-based polyphenols, terpenes, and glucosinolates are
contained in the bitter gourd (Drewnowski and Carneros, 2000). These substances were found to have
hypoglycemic, anti-atherogenic, anti-HIV, antioxidant, and anti-carcinogenic properties, and can also
inhibit formation of tumors (Drewnowski and Carneros, 2000). The biological compounds present are the

Page 1 of 19

momordicosides K and L which causes the bitter taste of bitter gourd. However, these two compounds do
not have any known health benefits (Hettiarachchy, 2007).

Figure 2. The structures of K (1) and L (2) momordicosides

Bitter gourd is well known also for its high tolerance to various weather conditions and to a wide
range of soils as well. It becomes one of the main sources of food and income for the Southeast Asian
people. This makes bitter gourd a strong component for a diet scheme that aims to reduce the risk of
chronic diseases. However, not all people especially children can tolerate its bitter taste even though it has
high nutritional value. Thus only a little of the human population acquire the health benefits of the bitter
gourd because of one hindering factorbitterness. With this problem, the students seek to reduce the
bitterness in the bitter gourd fruit by conducting this experiment. This experiment will apply the
techniques of salting, pickling, and blanching to reduce the bitterness in bitter gourd and will be analyzed
for its efficiency, and conclude which method is the best to use for the reduction of the bitterness of the
bitter gourd.

Page 2 of 19

The goal of this process is to determine which method is most effective in reducing bitterness of
bitter gourd. Three different techniques or methods were used in the study: salting, blanching, and
pickling. These methods were used to observe the effect of different factors and the changes in Bitter
gourd. The students have gathered all the ingredients and materials needed. Five hundred grams of bitter
gourd was weighed using a scale. The students have washed it first. After washing, it was then cut into
half and was sliced lengthwise with inch wide dimension. The cut bitter gourd was divided into 4 setups. One of the set-ups was labelled D for the control. This set-up must be out of any contamination with
any materials or ingredients.
The remaining set-ups were labelled A, B and C. Each division of bitter gourd was placed in a
bowl. On set-up A, two tablespoons of salt were added to the bowl with bitter gourd. It was left for 30
minutes. After 30 minutes, the mixture was drained to remove the water produced by the addition of salt
in the bitter gourd. The product of this set-up was compared to set-up D. Bitter taste was gone but bitter
gourd turned very salty. It remained crisp and slightly darker green in color. The change in texture and
taste of the bitter gourd was noted as seen in figure 3.

Figure 3. Set-up A: Salting

On set-up B, shown in figure 4, the bitter gourd was added to simmering water. This was done for
one minute. After one minute, the bitter gourd was transferred to a bowl with iced water. This was done to
stop the bitter gourd from cooking. Then the water was drained out. The product was then compared to
the control set-up. Color was bright green and most vibrant among all three. Taste was bland but had an
unpleasant aftertaste. The change in color, texture, and taste was also noted and seen in figure 4.
Page 3 of 19

Figure 4. Set-up B: Blanching

On set-up C, vinegar was heated until boiling. Once the vinegar was boiling already, two
tablespoon of sugar and two tablespoon of salt was added. After the addition of sugar and salt, the bitter
gourd was then added and was boiled for two minutes. After two minutes of boiling, it was drained and
the water was removed. The product was compared to set-up D. Had most pleasant taste among all three.
Color faded and slightly soft. The color and taste of the bitter gourd was observed and the results were
noted as in figure 5.

Figure 5. Set-up C: Pickling

Page 4 of 19


All set-ups desire a less bitter taste to bitter gourd. Color must be bright to slightly faded green to
keep enticing appearance. Texture must be crisp and not mushy when eaten. These qualities were shown
in figure 6.
In set-up A, after salting, bitter taste was gone but bitter gourd has become very salty. But texture
was retained as crisp. Color has turned slightly darker green.
In set-up B, after blanching, color is bright green and most vibrant among all three. Taste was
bland at first, but sensed an aftertaste.
In set-up C, after pickling, the color faded and slightly softer in texture compared to the other
two. Sourness substituted for the bitterness, as this was reduced. In had the most pleasant taste among the
three but had the greatest change in appearance compared to the control set-up D.
All these observations are seen in figure 7.

Figure 6. Standard qualities of Bitter Gourd before subjected to salting (set-up A), blanching (set-up B), and pickling (set-up C)

Figure 7. The changes in Bitter Gourd after subjected to salting (set-up A), blanching (set-up B), and pickling (set-up C)

Page 5 of 19


The three ingredients used in this experiment were bitter gourd, salt, vinegar, sugar, and water.
The bitter gourd served as the main ingredient since observations were based on its bitter taste. It
functions as a bitter flavor source and its effects are noted from the three different methods.
The salt is a polar compound that easily dissolves in water and forms electrolytes. Its main
function in the experiment is to remove the bitter taste of bitter gourd by addition of saltiness. This goes
the same with vinegar and sugar. The vinegar adds sourness to the bitter food thus reducing its bitterness.
While the sugar acts as sweetener that masks the bitter taste as well. Salt, vinegar, and sugar all function
as masking agents that hide the bitterness in the bitter gourd. Water is used as a solvent for pickling and
salting method, and a medium for heat in blanching.

Page 6 of 19

Table 1. Equipment and utensils needed
Chopping Board
Dietic Scale
Serving plate
Measuring cups
Measuring spoons

1 pc.
1 pc.
1 pc.
2 pcs.
3 pcs.
6 pcs.
2 pcs.
1 pc/size
1 pc/size


9 in, white, Melaware

9 in, white, Melaware

Table 2. Measurements and functionality of ingredients and underlying principles of procedures




Main ingredient


4 cups




1. Weigh 500 g of bitter gourd. Wash and slice it into

uniform size.

- To ensure that there is no

microorganism/ worms on the

2. Divide it into 4 equal parts. Labelling of the parts as

Set-up D for control in a clean jar/ disposable
Tupperware. And labelling the other parts as set-ups A,
B, and C.

- To prevent the set-ups to mixed


500 g

To be continued on page 8

Page 7 of 19

Continuation of Table 2


Induces salty taste;

Hygroscopic, bound
with water molecules

2 tbsps

~ 34 g

Medium; Causes
destruction of cells
plasma membranes

2 cups

Cold water


2 cups

500 mL


Hygroscopic, bound
with water molecules

2 tsps

~ 28 g

Hot Water


Reduces the bitter

taste by adding
sourness in the food

1 cup & 1

500 mL

3. Add two tablespoon of salt to set-up A, and leave it for

30 minutes.

- To remove the bitter taste of bitter

- To exhibit the process of salting

4. After 30 minutes, drain the mixture. Set it aside for

further observation.

- To remove water produced after

the addition of salt

5. On simmering water, add the bitter gourd from set-up

B. Let it simmer for 1 minute. After this, transfer the
bitter gourd in iced water and drain the water out. Set it

- To stop the bitter gourd from

continuous cooking

6. Boil about 250 mL vinegar. Once boiling, add two

tablespoons of sugar and salt. Then once added, follow to
add the bitter gourd in the mixture. Boil for 2 minutes.
Drain out the water after the boiling is done. Set it aside.

- To balance the sourness of the

- To remove the water produced

7. Compare the products of set-ups A,B, and C to set-up

D. Observe and take note the changes

- To test whether the methods used

is effective

250 mL

- Processing by application of heat. (n.d.) Retrieved October 8, 2015, from

Why does salt make (almost) everything taste better? (2013, July 10). Retrieved October 8, 2015, from
Page 8 of 19


According to Science Fare (2013), bitter compounds are discovered by the taste buds when they
come in contact with the G protein-coupled receptors. G protein stands for guanosine nucleotide- binding
proteins, which is a group of proteins that permits the identification of the molecules like those in charge
of taste in the exterior of a cell. Humans have no less than twenty-five of these receptors, and in each
bitterant can be attached at varying strengths to numerous receptors. This means that people are able to
taste an extensive range of bitterness by some estimates around 300 different variations of bitterness.
Given this fact, one underlying principle used in this experiment was the method of masking.
Masking is the hindering of certain off tastes (bitterness for this experiment) where in a particular flavor
compound will interfere with the reception of these tastes. This method is observed through the addition
of salt, vinegar and sugar (Science Fare, 2013).
Salt, by contrast to bitter compounds, does not attach to anything. The sodium ions just go
through membrane channels that identify its presence either salt is existent or not. However, as
bitterness is detected by G protein-coupled receptors, it also appears that the bitterness signal that those
receptors send to the brain require both calcium and sodium (both cations) to be sent properly. Thus
tasting bitterness is interconnected with acknowledging salty tastewhen you detect a bitter taste, this
means that you have tasted the sodium ions too. The concept was to compete for the detection of the taste
receptors in the tongue and lessen the reception of the bitter taste. The presence of sodium cations
interferes with the bitterness signal through this way. A group of researchers discovered that sodium
suppresses different types of bitterness at varying levels and that other cations, such as lithium, can have a
similar effect.
In terms of the amount of K and L momordicosides in the bitter gourd, it can be said that it was
reduced. In the set-up for salting, production of water was also observed in the set-up. Salt also triggers
osmosis of water. Osmosis is the movement of water molecules from a region of low solute concentration
to a region of high solute concentration (Campbell, 2011). In addition, the salt added to water increases
its concentration. Thus, bitter gourd cells contain lower concentration. This can imply that K and L
Page 9 of 19

momordicosides are water-soluble molecules and was carried by water when it flowed out of the plant
tissues (Hettiarachchy, 2007). Together with water, the bitter compound will also be removed. Also,
soaking the bitter gourd in salt solution can only reduce but not eliminate the bitterness in bitter gourd
since only a certain percentage of water is capable of being removed from the bitter gourd. This means
that only some of the bitter compound will be carried out together with the water thus it only masked
the bitter taste.
However, this interpretation may not be very conclusive because the stability of the K and L
momordicosides is not yet determined as studies are only starting to explore its characteristics.
Furthermore, one understood mechanism by which sodium-containing compounds may improve
overall flavor is by the suppression of bitter tastes. Various sodium-containing ingredients have been
known to reduce the bitterness of certain compounds found in foods, including quinine hydrochloride,
caffeine, magnesium sulfate, and potassium chloride (Breslin and Beauchamp, 1995). Further, the
suppression of bitter compounds may enhance the taste attributes of other food components. For example,
the addition of sodium acetate (which is only mildly salty itself) to mixtures of sugar and the bitter
compound urea enhanced the perceived sweetness of this mixture as a consequence of sodium
suppressing bitterness and thereby releasing sweetness, Influence on water activity (the amount of
unbound water) is another proposed reason that salt may potentiate flavors in foods. Use of salt decreases
water activity, which can lead to an effective increase in the concentration of flavors and improve the
volatility of flavour components (Delahunty and Piggott, 1995; Hutton, 2002). Higher volatility of flavor
components improves the aroma of food and contributes greatly to flavor.
The observed very little change to the color and appearance of the vegetable can be explained by
the ability of the salt, sodium chloride (NaCl), to simply substitute the Magnesium ions present in the
chlorophyll pigmentation with Sodium ions.
In the case of blanching, a notable observation was that the slices of the bitter gourd fruit became
waterier compared to when it was freshly sliced and not yet subjected to blanching. This happened
because of the destruction of the cell membranes and vacuoles contained in the bitter gourd flesh when it
Page 10 of 19

was subjected to heating. Also, through osmosis diffusion, water from the surroundings can easily go
toward the higher concentrated water found inside the bitter gourd cell membranes. Thus, water can easily
go in and out of the cells because the membrane was destroyed and as a relatively good amount of water
was used to blanch the bitter gourd slices, the cells cannot hold much of the water and thus water leaks
out of the bitter gourd slices again, bringing with it the contents of the fruit like the K and L
momordicosides (Hettiarachchy, 2007). Again, however, this loss of the momordicosides compounds that
cause the bitter taste cannot be fully attributed to its affinity with water molecules as no studies were
found to be tackling its stability. The vivid green color of blanched bitter gourd resulted from the short
duration it was exposed to heat. Most enzymes such as lipoxygenase, polyphenoloxidase,
polygalacturonase and chlorophyllase are inactivated by heat while sudden change to a cooler temperature
inhibits the continuous hydrolysis of bonds to form pheophytin, a darker green color.
In this particular method of pickling, vinegar was used as a masking agent to hide the bitterness.
Vinegar is the preservative and flavoring agent in most pickles. There are different kinds of vinegars that
can be used, and depends on the target result. Most pickle recipes call for distilled white vinegar. This is
the clear, colorless vinegar made by fermenting grains. It has a mellow aroma, tart acid flavor, and does
not affect the color of the light-colored vegetables or fruits. Apple cider vinegar, made from fermented
apple juice is a good choice for many pickles. It has a mellow, fruity flavor that blends well with spices.
However, it will darken most vegetables and fruits. Apple cider-flavored distilled vinegar has the flavor
and brown color of apple cider vinegar, but it is a mixture of apple cider flavoring and distilled vinegar.
Use it in the same way as apple cider vinegar. These three vinegars contain five percent acetic acid.
Occasionally you will find four percent acetic acid vinegar. This is salad vinegar and not strong enough to
make a good quality pickles that will be heat processed. The vinegar used for this experiment was
distilled white vinegar since it is the most affordable and most convenient to use.
The bitter gourd was shriveled due to the high concentration outside the bitter gourd flesh
allowing water from inside the cellular membranes to diffuse out. The color change was caused by the
addition of acid that causes the substitution of Magnesium ions with Hydrogen ions.
Page 11 of 19

The reduction of the bitterness of the bitter gourd for this study was done in three different ways
namely salting, blanching, and pickling. Salting is the addition of sufficient amount of table salt or
sodium chloride (NaCl) to food for amplification and modification of the taste. The second method is
blanching. This method is characterized by the extreme changes in temperature. The food is added in a
boiling water or steam and then transferred to cold water immediately. Pickling is also a method of
preservation that usually uses vegetables. In this method, the vegetables are soaked in or salty water.
Addition of sourness or saltiness aids in masking the bitter taste in bitter gourd.
The results of the experiment showed that the method of pickling was the most effective of the
three processes because of the significant loss of bitter taste in the bitter gourd. However, data produced
was not very comprehensive because measuring the bitter taste was only done through sensory evaluation.
It is recommended to conduct more studies on the reduction of the bitterness of the bitter gourd and apply
more extensive methods with specific measurable values in gauging the bitterness content of the bitter
gourd slices.

Page 12 of 19

Landrito, Katrina
Doing this kind of food phenomenon with regards to reducing the bitterness of ampalaya is very
helpful to kids' appetite. We all know that kids dont eat bitter gourd because of its bitter taste. When I
was a kid I don't like to eat ampalaya because of its bitterness. I remember that my mother had to bribe
me by giving me a reward so that I wilI eat ginisang ampalaya. Now that I learn thru experimenting that
the bitterness of ampalaya can be reduced, when the time comes when I become a mother, I will no longer
bribe my children to eat the nutritous ampalaya.
The three experiments (salting, blanching, pickling) can be performed easily. The steps are easy
to follow. The ingredients (salt, vinegar, sugar, etc) and utensils can be easily secured because they are
found inside the house. All of them reduce the bitterness of ampalaya, but the pickling method that treated
the ampalaya with sugar and vinegar reduced the bitterness a lot more.

Page 13 of 19

Napoles, Ida Amar A.

Ampalaya doesnt taste goodthis was the common reason why most people do not eat this
vegetable. Well, yes its true but despite its bitter taste, it actually contains a lot of nutrients like minerals,
vitamins, anti-oxidants and provides many medicinal benefits. And aside from it is healthy, it is also
affordable. So, to make it more appealing to people, people should understand that there are actually
ways to minimize the bitter taste of ampalaya, it just depends on how it is prepared.
Just like what we did in this food phenomenon, we examine whats the best way to extract the
bitterness outis it through salting, blanching or pickling? And we found out that all of it can somehow
lessen the bitterness. In salting, the bitterness was replaced with saltiness; in pickling, the bitterness was
replaced with sourness; and in blanching, the taste became bland. But for me, pickling is the most
effective way to make ampalaya tastes better.
People must try this kind of preparations to make them appreciate more the ampalaya, especially,
just like what I said earlier, ampalaya is very nutritious and it is noted effective in resolving variety of
common ailments, thats why it is better if people will make a conscious effort to add ampalaya to their
diet to make better healthy-food choices.

Page 14 of 19

Palmisa, Brylle Emar M.

Doing this activity gave me more information on the chemical composition of ampalaya and
actually learned that the compounds called momordicosides cause the distinct bitter taste of ampalaya
which is also unique because it is only found ampalaya. My childhood knowledge of the ampalaya having
rich nutritional contents were strengthened when we researched for the background information of the
fruit but it is not the bitter substance that brings the health benefits but the other molecules called
phytochemicals that are also contained in the fruit.
I learned that the ways of reducing the bitterness in bitter gourd are not really hard and difficult to
do instead it was actually simple and straightforward and not time-consuming. It is really good that there
are these methods to lessen the bitter taste but the problem is there is this notion connected to the bitter
gourd that it not that palatable which, i think everyone knew since childhood. I hope this will change
through time by the incorporation of these processes on the preparation of bitter gourd and break that
notion eventually.
Preparation and cooking of Filipinos foods have been guided by science since the time of our
early ancestors since we already perform processes like salting to flavour our foods and preserve them. I
believe that we are not behind in terms of these processes applied to our dishes but we need more studies
on the dishes we prepare and its components so we can handle them with foundations of scientific

Page 15 of 19

Sager, Angelyn J.
The food phenomenon done by the group is about finding the best method in reducing the
bitterness in bitter gourd. This matter is very helpful especially to a household having children. During the
experiment, most of the ingredients used were discussed in the class. Their functions and their effects to
food when added or mix to other ingredients were also discussed. These lessons include osmosis, the
hygroscopicity of the sugar and the effect of hot and cold water as well as the effect of an acid to the
food. The acid used in the experiment is the vinegar. As discussed in the lecture, upon the addition of an
acid to a chlorophyll containing vegetable, the color changes from bright green to olive green. This goes
the same with blanching. And to salt, the bitter gourd just shrinks because the water comes out. All these
concepts were already known prior to the experiment. But what really made me think is that, the bitter
taste of the bitter gourd is not removed but rather reduces only. The concept introduced is what they call
masking this method showed that upon adding ingredients that has mainly in our palate, masked the
bitter taste. This is what some part of the salt experiment showed. This goes the same with sugar in the
Overall, this food phenomenon helps us not only to exemplify the lessons we learned from the
lectures but also to discover new things. And this also shows that the food preparation of the Filipino
cuisine is very delicate. And that many improvised and modifications can be made without degrading the
culture in it.

Page 16 of 19

Samonte, Karmel Althea L.

Our food phenomenon was about finding the most effective way of reducing the bitter taste
usually found in bitter gourd. It may not be a new idea, but new discoveries and innovations are done to
improve its taste. For a long time, without knowing the efficacy of the method, I have always believed
that the most effective way to remove the bitterness was to wash with a brine solution. And so, salting
was also included in our experimental methods for comparison.
During the whole duration of the experiment, the only question that I could ask is if this particular
method made greater tasting bitter gourd. The last method, pickling, actually had the best taste and least
bitter taste. What I did not know before was that pickling was not just a fermentation process, but also a
way to reduce bitterness. Although it did have the best taste, its appearance was the least enticing since it
became shriveled and pale green in color. But since this experiment aims to compare methods with the
greatest bitterness reduction pickling is the most probable candidate.
This experiment is very helpful for future ways of preparation of bitter vegetables, particularly for
bitter gourd. Since these kinds of vegetables contain important nutrients in the body, the modification of
taste helps increase their consumption to a wider range of people and decrease the deficiency of these
certain nutrients. It is recommended that for future repetition of the experiment, the impact of the different
methods to the nutritional content be tested. For example, pickling is an effective way to mask the bitter
compound, but does it still contain the same amount of Iodine? It is important to remember that
modification of bitterness will defeat its primary purpose if at its consumption, there are no more nutrients
available for intake.

Page 17 of 19


Beauchamp, G. K., and Breslin, P.A.S. 1995. Suppression of Bitterness by Sodium: Variation Among
Bitter Taste Stimuli. Retrieved from

Braca, A., Tiziana, S., 2008. Chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of Momordica
charantia seed essential oil. [Online]. Retrieved from:
Chang & Palada, 2003. Momordica genus in Asia - An Overview. [E-Book]. Retrieved from:
Delahunty and Piggott, 1995 and Hutton, 2002. Reducing Salt in Foods: Practical Strategies. [E-Book].
Retrieved from:
Dhalla NS, Gupta KC, Sastry MS, Malhotra CL (1961). Chemical composition of the fruit of Momordica
charantia L. Ind. J. Pharmacol., 23: 128-131.
Donya, A., Chen, P., Hettiarachchy, N., Lay, J., Liyanage, R., and Jalaluddin, M. Effects of Processing
Methods on the Proximate Composition and Momordicosides K and L Content of Bitter Melon
Vegetable. [PDF]. Retrieved from:
Page 18 of 19

Drewnowski, A. and Gomez-Carneros C. 2000. Bitter taste, Phytonutrients, and The Consumer: A
Review. [PDF]. Retrieved from:
Henney, J., Taylor, C., & Boon, C. (Eds.). (2010). Strategies to reduce Sodium Intake in the United
States. Retrieved October 8, 2015, from
Keast, R., Breslin, P., & Beauchamp, G. (2001). Monell Chemical Senses Center.
Midmore, D. and Morgan W. 2002. Bitter Melon in Australia: A report for the Rural Industries
Research and Development Corporation. [PDF]. Retrieved from:
Processing by application of heat. (n.d.) Retrieved October 8, 2015, from
Reece, J. (2011). Campbell biology (9th ed.). Boston: Benjamin Cummings / Pearson
Rudrappa, U. 2009. Bitter gourd (melon) nutrition facts. [Online]. Retrieved from:
Why does salt make (almost) everything taste better? (2013, July 10). Retrieved October 8, 2015, from

Page 19 of 19