Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Horned Melon

The horned melon, also known as the African horned cucumber, jelly melon, kiwano, or in the southeastern U.S., the blowfish fruit, is a vine in the cucumber and melon family. The fruit is edible but it is often used as a decoration. When ripe, it has a yellow-orange skin and lime green inside.
It is native to Africa, but is now grown in California, Chile and New Zealand. From the tag above, this one was grown in New Zealand.

I saw and purchased it at Albertson's. It was so bizarre looking, both color and shape-wise, that I had to try it. It looks like something that would be eaten in the Mountains of Mordor.

The seeds are covered in a hard-core gelatinous substance. It is almost like gummy bears, or real stiff Jello, but without the sweet taste. 
Wikipedia's entry for "Horned Melon" describes the taste as a combination of cucumber and zucchini, or banana, cucumber and lemon. I couldn't pin down a taste, other than that the taste was more vegetable than fruit. It was very mild and the seeds, although not nasty tasting, were not pleasant to chew and swallow; perhaps somewhat like pomegranite seeds, except that in the pomegranite, the surrounding fruit is very tart and sweet. The Wikipedia article suggests adding a small amount of salt or sugar to increase the flavor. I did try a little sugar and it did incease the pleasantness of the taste dramatically. Without the sugar, it was very ho-hum. It would be fun to have as a food because it is so amazing looking. It would be great on a party tray, particularly if sprinkled with a little sugar. I will probably try it again sometime when I want something as a conversation piece.

1 comment:

  1. This was definitely fun to try, and while not bad tasting, like you said, ho-hum. VERY COOL looking however!