Lesser known gourds to be commonly available
BITTER gourd is one of the most disliked vegetables because of its taste. But given its nutritional and medicinal value one is often forced to eat it. However, over the past three decades, this vegetable’s bitterness has reduced, thanks to the hybrid varieties created by scientists in India. These hybrids—pusa do mausmi, pusa vishesh, arka harit and many others—are commonly available and differ in their shape, size, colour and taste.
Scientists have now crossbred six other less popular members of the gourd genus found in India. These include teasle gourd (Momordica subangulata), spine gourd (Momordica dioica), sweet gourd (Momordica cochinchinensis), balsam apple (Momordica balsamina), Momordica sahyadrica, known as vaika in Kerala and Momordica cymbalaria, called athalakka’i in Tamil Nadu. Apart from teasle gourd, which is produced commercially and considered a delicacy in West Bengal and Odisha, the cultivation of other species is restricted to tribal and poor farming communities. But the lesser known gourds have a huge potential as alternative crops as they are loaded with medicinal properties and nutrients. For instance, in Odisha, sweet gourd is used to treat asthma and anaemia.
|SPECIES PUT TO TEST|
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