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If you read this blog, you know I’m a big fan of eating a wide variety of fruits and veggies. But nearly everyone I know tends to eat the same few fruits and veggies over and over, mostly because they’re unsure what new types will taste like, or what to do with them. That’s why I love introducing people to some not so run-of-the-mill varieties of produce. And today’s pick is kiwano melon (also called horned melon, horny melon, African horned cucumber, jelly melon, hedged gourd, melano, and English tomato).
Originally from southern and central Africa, this melon looks menacing but it’s very tasty. Its flavor has been described as a cross between a cucumber and kiwi (some people say a mix of banana, cucumber, melon and lime but to me, cucumber dominates). I think it’s fun to eat because the texture is very gelatinous, kind of like tiny gummy bears with edible seeds (they look like cucumber seeds but are tougher and more chewy). One little melon (which can fit in the palm of your hand, roughly 5 inches long) provides just 25 calories but 40% of the daily vitamin C need. Adventurous eaters enjoy scooping out the flesh and using it as a topping or garnish for yogurt, sorbet, or in a cold dressing or sauce.
If you slice lengthwise and scoop out the inside, you can use the half shells as mini serving cups. My favorite filling is pineapple sorbet, topped with kiwano and a sprinkle of shredded coconut – yum! If you’re up for the experience, one melon will generally set you back about $4-5. Happy exotic eating, and please share your favorite kiwano recipes!