A recent Facebook conversation and ‘foods to avoid’ article initiated an interesting energizing beverage idea – ash gourd juice. Would you drink this in place of coffee? Here’s the lowdown.

Ash gourd, also known as ‘winter melon’, is large like a watermelon and has a white flesh. It is used in a variety of ways throughout Asia, cooked into soups and stews and made into tea and candy. Energetically, it is quite cooling to the body so it is good for hot Pitta types, especially in the summertime or in warm climates.

I have tasted ash gourd juice in the past, with some amount of hesitation as my own constitution is Pitta with a Vata imbalance. Vata, being cold in nature, needs warm foods and beverages.  As I live in New England where the weather is cool four months out of the year and COLD another four months out of the year, I watch my constitution carefully as not to provoke Vata further.

Ash gourd has a mild, unique taste. Isha Foundation recommends this juice as an energizing and calming alternative to coffee.

Daily consumption of ash gourd greatly enhances one’s intellectual capabilities.

Isha also recommended that ‘asthmatics’ or people ‘susceptible to cold or cough’ add honey or black pepper to the juice to somewhat neutralize the cooling effects.

I found ash gourd at my local Indian market. I juiced it by grating it in a food processor, then squeezing the flesh through cheesecloth. There’s an easier juicing process I’m sure, possibly with fancy juicing equipment, but this girl is low-tech.

ashgourd 002

The juice was delicious, especially with honey and black pepper which did add a significant amount of heat to it. I did find it energizing and almost brightening to my mind. It tasted sweet, mild and fresh.

I will certainly have it again, with an eye on my doshas of course.

– Jen Eddinger