Snake Gourd

Description
Snake gourd is a very common vegetable consumed all over India. It is greenish in color, and has a snake like shape, giving it its name. It has its origin in India. It is slightly elongated in shape, and basically has its roots in the cucumber family.
Snake gourd is a creeper, which is a climbing herb which uses other plants to grow upon. The stem or tendrils of the snake gourd gets divided into 3 main parts. This tree has a lot of fruits and flowers. The color of the fruits vary from being white at the beginning, orange when it is just ripe, and by the time it matures, it turns into a nice ripe red. The leaves of the snake gourd are slightly peculiar shaped, which helps it to be easily discerned from other plants. They are slightly lobed leaves, and have hair on them!

Interestingly, the snake gourd is also known as tomato gourd in some parts of the world, because of the reddish color of the pulp which surrounds the mature seeds is very much similar to that of tomato while cooking.

Buying Tips
When you go to the markets to buy the snake gourd, do not be misleaded and buy old, stale and unhealthy vegetables. Make sure that the snake gourd is nice, strong and rounded at its edges. The color should not be too dark it should be kept to the lighter tones of green. Also, try to get the healthy, well formed parwals, and not the water-soaked, wrinkled ones. You should remember that the thinner the snake gourd is, the lesser number of seeds it will contain. Thus, go for the right ones, so that you can enjoy its exquisite taste.

Culinary Usage
If you are going to cook snake gourd, you have a large number of alternatives to choose from, the most refreshing alternative being stuffing the snake gourd with some other choice food items like fish, or paneer. You can also stuff it with spices which you like. Of course, the snake gourd can be had as it is without removing the inner seeds. They taste very good with dal or sambhar.

A very tasty alternative is cutting the snake gourd longitudinally into strips, and frying it. You can have it with rice and ghee.

It is most widely used as a curry vegetable. It can be used in different types of preparations. Snake gourd is also used for making pickles. Here, even the stems and leaves can be used, though they must be steam boiled first to remove the highly unpleasant odor.

Storage
After you have bought the healthy and fresh snake gourd from the market, and say you want to have it after a few days; make sure that you keep it well-packed in an air-tight container, like a sealed box or a plastic bag. Keep it in the crispier drawers of your refrigerator. Keep in mind, that the more you keep your vegetables stored in the refrigerator, the more it will lose its freshness as time goes by. Hence, try to consume it within a few days of purchasing them from the market.

Medicinal Values
Even though you may not have heard about this vegetable much, you will be indeed surprised at its many hidden attributes. Some of them are listed down below:

  1. The snake gourd is highly rich in minerals like calcium, magnesium and phosphorous. Thus, calcium helps in building your bones, while the other minerals are all essential for your body in optimum quantity. Thus, snake gourd helps in maintaining proper body balance.
  2. This vegetable contains a lot of fibre or roughage, and thus helps a lot in the smooth working of the digestive and excretory system. It prevents constipation, and cleans up the alimentary canal.
  3. The major part of the vegetable consists of water, and thus it has low fat and cholesterol. Thus, it is a good dietary food. Hence, diabetic patients can consume it so that they can reduce their weight, while keeping the nutrition levels intact.
  4. The leaves of snake gourd, along with a correct proportion of coriander seeds, when grinded give a very commonly used cure for jaundice.
  5. Snake gourd is a natural antibiotic. It can also be used as a laxative sometimes. It has many anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties.
  6. It contains minerals like thiamine, carotene, riboflavin and niacin. Basically these are various Vitamin B complexes.
  7. Other common medicinal uses are that it has a cooling effect on the human body, helps in production of body fluids, reducing heart palpitations, curing fever, especially bilious fever due to its laxative property.

Where to Buy Snake Gourd in USA
Snake gourd usually requires a sandy loam soil for good cultivation. The soil should also have a high organic content and proper irrigation.

In USA, snake gourds are widely grown in the southern parts of USA, like Texas. It is also grown in some places in Georgia.

Nutritional and Dietary Information
If you take around 100 g snake gourd, it will contain only 20 calories. Thus, it helps in reducing weight, though it has all the vital nutrients which the human body requires. Some of the other nutrients present in snake gourd are tabulated below. Here, you can find how much of what is present in 100 g of snake gourd:

– 95 g of moisture alone! That means 95% of snake gourd is constituted only of water

– 20 mg of Phosphorous

– 26 mg of Calcium

– 3 g carbohydrates

– 1 g of fibre

– trace quantities of proteins, fats and iron.

Thus, as you find from the above information, snake gourd is a highly appetizing and nutritive vegetable, which also helps you lose weight due to its low calorific value and low fats and cholesterol. So, what are you waiting for? Go and get your vegetables from the closest grocery store for a much healthier lifestyle!

Nutrition Facts
Servings Size 300gm
Total Fat 2%
Total Carbohydrate 3%
Dietary Fiber 9%
Protein 3%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because it has not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

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