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May 3, 2010

African Horned Melon (Kiwano)

W brought this home from the store today, and I had no idea what it was, or what to expect. I had to do a little research and find out HOW to eat it, before I was brave enough to pick up the very sharp horned fruit and slice into it.

The Kiwano melon is native to Africa, however, it's now commercially grown in New Zealand, Australia and some parts of the United States. The fruit is usually oval in shape, and the size of medium papaya. When harvested, this fruit is green, and turns orange when ripe. The inner meat is used for preparing salads or as fruit snacks, or can be used after sweetening its puree.

Most reviews I read were not positive, however, oddly enough, W and I both enjoyed the taste. It was an "experience" for sure. The taste was reminiscent of cucumber, kiwi and lime. We each developed our own technique for eating, but I read you had to suck the jelly-like fruit from the little vesicles. As you suck, each seed comes out, enclosed in a tiny cell of slimy, green fruit. Some people chew open the cell, and spit out the seeds. (You can chew and eat these too. They have no flavor).

 I ate it more like an oyster. Sucking the fruit encased seeds into my mouth, savoring the exotic flavor, swirling it around my mouth, like fine wine, and swallowing, seeds and all.

In describing how to eat this, I'm wondering if instead of calling it an exotic fruit, it should be called an erotic fruit.

W and I didn't take the traditional approach to eating this fruit, but instead, were playful and had a ton of fun, bent over the sink, slurping, sucking, swallowing, and sharing our experience.  What a hoot!

I can't say I'm' in love with the fruit enough to  rush out and buy it again. They are very pricey! We got lucky. W spends so much time in the produce section, he has gotten to know the manager who gave him the fruit to sample. But if it were available and on sale, I think we'd both have no problem enjoying it again.

Fruit on left was halved. (not good). We then quartered the fruit, and that was pretty messy. I'd suggest slicing it into lengthwise wedges and eating like melon, or scooping the meat out with a spoon. Unless of course you really want to have fun with it!

The Kiwano melons are low in calories, high in dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and iron. It can be stored in room temperature for at least two months. This may be one of the reasons for using these exotic looking fruits for decorative purposes.

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