What is Jiló?

June 21, 2024

What is Jiló?

Jiló, also known as bitter melon or bitter gourd, is a tropical and subtropical vine that belongs to the gourd family. It is commonly grown in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean. The fruit of the jiló plant is oblong in shape, with a rough, warty exterior and a bitter taste. Despite its unappealing flavor, jiló is a popular ingredient in many cuisines around the world.

Health Benefits of Jiló

Jiló is known for its numerous health benefits. It is rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals like potassium and iron. The bitter taste of jiló is due to the presence of compounds called momordicin and charantin, which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Consuming jiló regularly can help improve digestion, boost immunity, and regulate blood sugar levels.

How to Cook Jiló

Despite its bitter taste, jiló can be delicious when prepared correctly. To reduce the bitterness, jiló is often soaked in salted water before cooking. It can be sliced, sautéed, or stir-fried with other vegetables and spices to create a flavorful dish. Jiló is a versatile ingredient that can be used in soups, stews, and curries.

Popular Jiló Recipes

There are many delicious recipes that feature jiló as the main ingredient. One popular dish is jiló frito, where the fruit is sliced, coated in flour, and deep-fried until crispy. Another favorite is jiló refogado, a simple stir-fry dish with onions, garlic, and tomatoes. Jiló can also be stuffed with meat or cheese and baked until tender.

Where to Buy Jiló

Jiló can be found in most Asian and Latin American grocery stores, as well as some specialty markets. Look for firm, unblemished fruits with a bright green color. Avoid jiló that is soft or wrinkled, as it may be overripe. If fresh jiló is not available, you can also find frozen or canned jiló in some stores.

History of Jiló

Jiló has been cultivated for centuries in Asia and Africa. It is believed to have originated in India and was later introduced to other parts of the world by Portuguese explorers. Jiló has long been valued for its medicinal properties and is used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and skin conditions.

Nutritional Value of Jiló

Jiló is a low-calorie, nutrient-dense food that is rich in fiber and antioxidants. It is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, folate, and magnesium. Jiló is also high in water content, making it a hydrating and refreshing snack. Incorporating jiló into your diet can help support overall health and well-being.

Culinary Uses of Jiló

Jiló is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. It can be sliced, diced, or chopped and added to salads, stir-fries, and casseroles. Jiló can also be pickled, roasted, or grilled to enhance its flavor. The bitter taste of jiló pairs well with savory and spicy flavors, making it a popular choice in many cuisines.

Benefits of Including Jiló in Your Diet

Including jiló in your diet can have numerous health benefits. The fiber in jiló can help improve digestion and promote satiety, making it a great choice for weight management. The antioxidants in jiló can help protect against chronic diseases and support overall health. Jiló is also a low-calorie, nutrient-dense food that can help you meet your daily vitamin and mineral needs.

Side Effects of Jiló

While jiló is generally safe for most people to consume, some individuals may experience side effects. The bitter taste of jiló can be off-putting to some, and may cause stomach upset or digestive issues in sensitive individuals. If you have a history of digestive problems or are sensitive to bitter foods, it is best to consume jiló in moderation and consult with a healthcare provider if you experience any adverse reactions.


In conclusion, jiló is a versatile and nutritious ingredient that can be enjoyed in a variety of dishes. Whether you prefer it fried, sautéed, or stuffed, jiló is a flavorful addition to any meal. With its numerous health benefits and culinary uses, jiló is a valuable ingredient to incorporate into your diet. So next time you’re at the grocery store, pick up some jiló and give it a try!

Tatiana Cesso

As a journalist, I've made it my mission to explore and share stories that inspire, inform, and entertain. You may have stumbled upon my work in esteemed publications such as InStyle, Marie Claire, Bazaar, L’Officiel, and Vogue, among others. Having called the U.S. home since 2010, I've lived in Chicago, LA, and currently, Miami. But my heart always beats to the rhythm of Brazil. It's where I was born and raised, and my love for its culture, people, and energy knows no bounds. To share this passion, I've founded Brazilcore, a platform aimed at bridging the gap between Brazil and English speakers worldwide.