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[Winter Melon]

Introducing the seasonal summer vegetable, "winter melon." Despite its name suggesting a winter association, this vegetable earned the moniker winter melon due to its hard and thick skin that allows it to last until winter if stored in a cool, dark place. Originating from India and Southeast Asia, it has been cherished as a vegetable since ancient times, with its presence recorded in Japan's oldest surviving pharmaceutical dictionary, "Honzo Wamyō," dating back to the early Heian period.

Winter melon offers various health benefits, including diuretic properties that help eliminate excess water from the body, and its cooling effect aids in regulating body temperature during hot seasons. Although it contains about 95% water, it is also rich in vitamin C and potassium. Potassium plays a role in maintaining normal blood pressure and facilitating waste elimination by the kidneys, making it effective in reducing swelling and preventing hypertension. Additionally, it helps replenish lost fluids, making it beneficial for alleviating symptoms like heat fatigue and thirst. However, those with naturally colder bodies or sensitive stomachs should avoid excessive consumption due to its cooling nature.

A traditional dish commonly found in Chinese and Taiwanese households is the winter melon and spare rib soup, known as "donggua paigu tang." This gentle soup combines the soft and refreshing flavor of winter melon with the rich taste of pork spare ribs, resulting in a simple yet delightful dish. In Taiwan, spare rib soup (paigu tang) is also made with white bitter gourd or daikon radish.

To prepare the soup, simply simmer the spare ribs with ginger and salt until tender, then add the pre-boiled winter melon and cook briefly to prevent it from becoming too mushy. For tender spare ribs, using a clay pot or pressure cooker yields delicious results. Matsuyama Tokojo's Yukihira Pot #5 from the Iga heat-resistant pottery factory is the perfect size for making a serving of winter melon and spare rib soup for two.

The combination of vitamin B1-rich pork and vitamin C-rich winter melon makes this dish perfect for combating summer fatigue. Why not try incorporating winter melon and spare rib soup into your summer dietary regimen for a nourishing and refreshing experience?

Matsuyama Tokojo's Yukihira Pot #5
Seiryugama's Kobachi S

https://icook.tw/recipes/363769 (Reference Recipe)