September 9, 2010

Kiwano or Horned Melon Fruit

We saw this fruit at Eataly and had to pick it up (despite the hefty $6 price tag).  We love experimenting with exotic fruits and couldn't wait to bring it home.  This fruit is called an African Horned Melon or Kiwano fruit.  Originally found in the Kalahari desert, it is now widely grown in New Zealand and California.  Surprisingly, this spiky fruit is from the cucumber and melon family and its interior is as unusual as its exterior.
We've seen it used on a few sites (like 5 Star Foodie's) but this was the first time we saw this alien-like fruit in person.  Cutting into it, we found a seedy and bright green gelatinous pulp.  The kiwano melon is supposed to be really easy to grow (especially with all of those seeds) in a warm climate and seems better used as decoration (especially since it does not need to be refrigerated). 
It has a light, fresh, cucumber and melon flavor (almost sounds like a Bath and Body Works soap scent!).  Some people taste kiwi or lemon.  Everything is edible, though we only ate the green fruit pulp (the seeds were hard like pumpkin seeds and tasteless).  There's about 25 calories in a medium sized melon (100 g) and it's high in Vitamin C.  Truthfully though the fruit is bland in taste.
Thinking of the fruit as a cucumber, I used half of the fruit's pulp into a salsa.  Mixed with a diced tomato, diced onions, cilantro, salt, and pepper, the horned melon adds a light citrusy flavor to the salsa (and the skin makes a pretty bowl!)
I wanted to taste the sweet side of the fruit so I added a little bit of brown sugar to it.  This brought out its sweeter banana flavor.
Using this sweetened half of the kiwano fruit, we added some sparkling water and a touch of lime-flavored Jarritos Mexican soda pop.  Horned melon soda anyone?
We did enjoy playing around with this unusual fruit, but given it's price tag, difficulty to eat, and lackluster flavor we'd rather have other exotic fruits we liked like these ones:

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