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October 2017

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fruits and vegetables

Kiwano - African Horned Melon

Squaresoft (the web site development company) has been running ads that feature close ups of a Horned Melon being cut open. After seeing that about a dozen times I decided to finally pick up a Horned Melon at Wegmans.

I've seen these in the store for a while but never tried one. Some of the alternate names are: horned melon, jelly melon, African horned cucumber, hedged gourd, melano, and blowfish fruit.

It's really more of a cucumber than a melon. A short thick orange cucumber. All those little bumps on the outside of normal cucumbers are short spikes on a Kiwano. And the smooth flesh of the cucumber has disappeared leaving only the seeds in their little jelly pouches and a thick hard skin. If you don't like the seed part of the cucumber you won't like a Kiwano.



Being me, I looked up how to eat one before I cut it open.

The best video I could find of someone eating one was this kid. He is more intelligent than a lot of adults on YouTube.



I saved the Kiwano to share with Marilyn because I like to share new things with other people. I cut it in half and gave half to Marilyn. We ate it with spoons to scoop the seeds out. I used a knife to cut some of the seeds away from the skin. Some of the seeds would really not let go of the central core so I scooped it into my mouth and sucked the juice off, then spit out the fibrous core. The seeds are like cucumber seeds, soft and easier to eat then to spit out. I can see why people compare it to pomegranate because in both cases you are eating the juice filled pouches that surround the seeds. But a pomegranate is like an inside out giant raspberry, while a Horned Melon is more of a fleshless cucumber. I have seen instructions that advise eating pomegranates with a spoon but I wouldn't try that the seeds pop and spurt all over the place. None of the sites I found suggested eating a Kiwano with a spoon but the seeds are so soft that it was the easiest way for me to eat it. It didn't spurt at all.

The flavor is very mild and I can see why people say it tastes like banana and lime. I usually associate banana with a creamy texture but this had banana flavor with a totally different texture. It also had the sort of astringency you get with cucumbers.

It is interesting and worth a try. Totally inoffensive, mildly sweet, and juicy.
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