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Grower's Guide

The winter melon (Chinese: 冬瓜; pinyin: dongguo), also called white gourd or ash gourd, is a vine grown for its very large fruit, eaten as a vegetable. The fruit is fuzzy when young, giving rise to the name fuzzy melon (Chinese: 毛瓜; pinyin: máoguo). By maturity, the fruit loses its hairs and develops a waxy coating, giving rise to the name wax gourd, and providing a long shelf life. The word "melon" in the name is somewhat misleading, as the fruit is not sweet.

Originally domesticated in Southeast Asia, the winter melon is now widely grown in East Asia and South Asia as well.

The winter melon requires very warm weather to grow but can be kept through the winter much like winter squash. The melons are used in stir fry or to make winter melon soup, which is often served in the scooped out melon, which has been intricately decorated by scraping off the waxy coating.

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