Goya Fruit – Undiscovered Side Of Japanese Traditional Food 

As the trend of superfood is becoming more and more popular across the world, healthy fruit like goya is becoming trendy and available for more people.

In this article, we bring you information about why is goya fruit healthy and nutritious, more about its origin and why is it part of Japanese traditional food. 

goya fruit

Origin Of Goya Fruit

Even though goya has a similar name to goji berries, it has a different origin and completely different look. It is very common in Japan and is part of the Okinawa diet. Yet, it originates from Africa and by the time it got to southern parts of Asia. The common name in English is bitter melon, explaining its taste. Today, it is spread across Japan and is considered very healthy and consumed regularly. It grows in May and is harvested by hand. Today, different variations vary in the colour of the fruit skin and the taste. Big differences are between Chinese, Pakistan and Indian varieties. What is more, there are hundreds of names that locals give to this fruit, so it has a specific name in each tribe. It is especially popular in Japan where it is considered a secret for longevity and is consumed as a part of everyday diet. The mild climate is ideal for its growth and the Japanese prefer to eat healthy fruit, which is one of the arguments for its popularity. As they have found ways to preserve it, you can find it year-round and ready to consume.

Characteristics And Description

As a plant, goya is considered a tropical or subtropical vine which means it needs warm and humid conditions to grow. It can reach up to 5 m in height and big and bright green leaves cover well. It is part of the gourd family and connected with zucchini and cucumber, so the fruit has a similar texture and pulp. The plant has bright yellow flowers and both male and female fruit. The fruit has a long and oblong shape and is similar to the cucumber. The colour of skin varies from dark to very pale green. The skin is very wrinkled and full of bulges, but very thin and edible. Inside is soft and crispy pulp, very watery, and big and flat seeds that need to be removed before eating. It is eaten while the skin is green and when you taste it, it is similar to fresh bell pepper. When it is ripe, it turns to bright yellow with red pulp. When the pulp is very red, it can be eaten fresh and has a very sweet taste, so is commonly added to salads. Yet, then you need to consume it instantly and can’t save it for later. 

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Health Benefits Of Goya Fruit

As a very healthy fruit, goya is considered to prolong life and help in many health disbalances. First, it is rich in vitamins, especially C and B which support your immune system and provide you energy through the day. Since the Japanese consider it the fruit of wisdom and wisdom is connected to old age, it has many benefits on your life. Yet, we bring you some scientific reasons why you should use it in your everyday routine.

Goya has many good influences on your health, but it is considered helpful in controlling the level of blood sugar and with diabetes type 2. studies have shown that its consumption can moderately lower blood sugar and prevent a bigger rise. It is thought to promote insulin, the hormone needed for sugar regulation, but more research is needed on that field. Other research has shown that it has anti-cancer properties and help with killing cancer cells in the body. Yet, it must be consumed on regular basis to have a more powerful influence. What is more, it is loaded with antioxidants and help with body detox.

Another helpful fact is shown only in animal studies, but the longevity of people who consume it regularly can help it. It is shown that eating goya reduces bad cholesterol in the blood and prevents cardiovascular diseases. What is more, it has low calories and is an ideal food to help with weight loss and keeping a diet. It is rich in fibre and encourages digestion which is another key to successfully lose weight. Although you can consume it as a regular meal, it is ideal to add with some high calories meal to balance nutrition. Even traditional Hindu and Chinese medicine has used goya for many problems, including blood purifying and body detox. It is also believed to help with removing kidney stones, treating the liver and stomach. The cleansing effect is believed to help with skin problems, such as acne, psoriasis and eczema.

How To Use Goya Fruit

Goya is very popular in Japanese cuisine, but because of its health benefits, there are many ways to use it in other kitchens around the world. First, and because of its exotic look and skin, is important to know what and how to use it. First, if you have fresh fruit, you need to wash your skin well and wipe all excess water. Then, you need to cut it lengthwise and on thin sticks. Using a spoon, remove seeds from the centre and cut sticks into smaller bits. Once you have cleaned the fruit, you can do some of the things you like!

Goya fruit is perfectly edible and you can use it raw or add it to many dishes. It has a very strong and bitter taste, so it is recommended to use it in smaller amounts to avoid overwhelming the dish. Frozen goya has a milder taste and is better for combinations with other vegetables. Since it is full of proteins and fibre, it is ideal as high protein vegetarian dinner. You can blend it and use it in juices and smoothies, but also in salads, pan-fried, steamed or baked. Possibilities are endless and help you find your favourite way to prepare it.

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Goya Fruit Recipes

Even though goya is a very exotic fruit, it is easy to use in simple everyday recipes. We bring you 3 variations, so it will be easier to find the best one!

Healthy Goya Juice

The easiest way to use goya is in juices. You can add it to any combination you like, but we present you with green goya juice. For it, you need one goya, one green apple, two cucumbers and half of the lemon. Wash all fruits and vegetables them juice lemon and combine them all. You can add ginger or honey to improve the taste. You can combine it with the best vegetables for juicing.

Pan-fried Goya Side Dish

Pan-fried goya is excellent as a side dish to fish or for a vegetarian dinner. For this, you need to slice it into 2 cm thick pieces and season with salt. After it has let water, dry it with a paper towel and heat the oil. Fry for 2 minutes on each side or until it is golden brown. Season with salt and pepper and be sure to maintain crispy skin.

Colourful Breakfast Scrambled Eggs

Vegetable scrambled eggs are an ideal way to start your day. For this recipe, you need to chop onions, red pepper, tomato and goya. Then, fry the onion on hot butter until is softened. Saute vegetables quickly and season with salt. In another bowl, mix eggs with a splash of cream or milk and season with salt. Add eggs to vegetables and mix until cooked. You can serve it on a toast.  

Can You Freeze Goya Fruit?

Like much other exotic fruit that seeks for the region or specifical climate to grow, it is hard to find goya in many parts of the world. So, people who want to eat it has to freeze it to preserve goya for a longer time. Even though it is mostly water, goya pulp can be frozen and kept in ice for 3 to 6 months. It is completely normal and often to see frozen exotic fruit, like frozen pitaya and durian. Freezing it will preserve it for longer use and preserve fresh taste. Yet, it is important to wash it well before freezing and drain or wipe all water. Many recipes that include frozen goya don’t need it unfrozen, so it is a smart choice to chop it into smaller pieces before freezing and just start using it. Don’t forget to put it in the freezing bag and mark the freezing to be sure it is valid once you want to use it in your dishes. Since it is made of mostly water, it is easier to for it to freeze and remain solid even after unfreezing it.

To Wrap It Up

At the first appearance, goya fruit seems exotic. Yet, it has many health benefits and reasons to include it in everyday diet. Since it has a very strong taste, use it in a smaller amount at the beginning, but there are many recipes and ways of using it, so you can easily find the one that suits you the most. If you need a juicer to prepare fresh juice with goya, the posts about the best white juicer and the best small electric juicer may interest you.

Ivana is always desirable for adventures so she was working in restaurants on the Croatian coast, participated in Caffe barista tournaments, led a gardening business, and more. She is a healthy food enthusiast, prefers vegetarianism, and practices yoga. In her free time, she likes to study ancient Buddhist scriptures as well as psychology.