It’s hard to describe a flavor, and we all have different tastes, which makes explaining something like the flavor of a Kiwano melon difficult.
The level of sweetness and acidity can also vary, depending on how old or ripe the melon is, whether it has been transported a long way, etc.
What is kiwano melon taste? One thing you can be certain of is that if you have never tried a Kiwano melon before, you are in for a treat.
Kiwano melons have a delicious fruity flavor that embodies what we love about bananas, passionfruit, lime, cucumber, and more. It’s a taste experience you have to try for yourself.
What Is Kiwano Melon – The Exotic Fruit?
Kiwano melon, Cucumis metuliferus (also called Thorn Melon, Horned Melon, Jellyfruit, African Horned Cucumber, Blowfish fruit, Gaka, or Gakachika) is a member of the cucumber family that grows primarily in central and southern Africa.
It grows wild in the bush, but it can also be cultivated.
Kiwano melon makes a great snack when eaten directly from the rind, but it can also be used as an ingredient in cooking.
As a sweet fruit, it tends to be used more in smoothies, salsas, and desserts than in savory dishes, although it has found its way into many different areas of African cuisine.
The availability of kiwano melons outside of Africa varies.
Although they can be grown year-round in tropical climates around the world, they don’t make their way to every grocery store and you may need to find your local African grocer and/or wait until it is the season (spring and summer).
What Does Kiwano Melon Look Like?
Kiwano melon is about the size of a papaya, with pronounced thorns or spikes all around it. These are spaced quite far apart, and by the time a kiwano melon reaches your market or grocery store, the spikes are nothing to worry about.
The rind is a light orange color. Green kiwano melon is underripe and should be left to ripen before being eaten.
When you open up a kiwano melon, you get something altogether different.
A kiwano melon is a tough rind on the outside, containing a mass of seed-filled jelly inside. If you slice into the melon you will immediately notice that the juice begins to drain out.
This juice can be collected to drink by itself or added to a smoothie. The jelly-pulp inside the melon is the main attraction, however. This sweet jelly contains all of the flavor and nutrients.
The only problem? All of that deliciousness is filled with seeds! Kiwano melon is filled with small white seeds that have the same approximate texture as watermelon pips, and don’t have any particular taste.
If you don’t mind chewing up some seeds with your kiwano fruit, you can go ahead – there are no dangerous compounds in kiwano melon seeds – but most kiwano melon eaters don’t enjoy the seeds and are happy to take the time to remove them.
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What Texture Does Kiwano Melon Have?
The outside of a kiwano melon is hard and smooth, with spikes that are pointy to the touch.
Inside a kiwano melon, there is a gelatinous pulp, with hard seeds mixed in. The gooey, mushy, goopy texture of kiwano melon can take some getting used to, but it is delicious and it gets easier to enjoy with time.
Where Does Kiwano Melon Come From?
Kiwano melon is a fruit native to central and southern Africa, Australia, and some Pacific Islands.
Although it is now cultivated year-round in tropical regions, it is still most popular in traditional African cuisine and its colloquial name “African Horned Melon” refers to this.
Is Kiwano Melon Healthy? Are There Dangers To Eating Kiwano Melon?
We should all try to eat as many fruits and vegetables as possible, but kiwano melon is especially nutritious and helpful. It’s a kind of superfood that is packed with many different nutrients and antioxidants your body can use.
Antioxidants help to remove free radicals from your bloodstream, reducing inflammation and decreasing your risk for certain cancers.
Kiwano melon is rich in many different antioxidants, including Vitamin A, Vitamin C, lutein, and zinc. Regularly eating foods that are rich in antioxidants can help reduce stress, inflammation, and the risk of major diseases.
Kiwano melon is also a source of some very important minerals that we often struggle to get from other sources – iron, magnesium, and zinc.
Iron, in particular, is hard to get and absorb, especially for vegans and vegetarians.
Kiwano melon includes a form of non-heme iron in significant amounts, as well as the vitamin C that your body needs to help absorb it.
It also includes magnesium and zinc, two minerals that are vital to mood and brain functioning but are often neglected in our diet.
With a low glycemic index and more protein than other fruits, kiwano melon can help you fill up and stay full better than other fruits can, and won’t spike your blood sugar.
It’s a great choice for people who are diabetic or watching their weight.
Lastly, with a ton of water content (approximately 88%) and important electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and magnesium, a kiwano melon is like a sports drink that can keep you hydrated!
It’s hard to find a fruit that is healthier than kiwano melon, and there are no real dangers to eating a moderate amount of kiwano melon or even eating its rind or seeds.
It is possible that some bitter varieties of kiwano melon could make you sick if they are severely underripe, but you probably wouldn’t eat underripe kiwano melon anyway.
How Do You Eat Kiwano Melon?
You can dive right into a kiwano melon by slicing it open and spooning some of the delicious jelly fruit inside your mouth.
You might want to remove the white seeds first, but if you don’t, it doesn’t matter. You can chew or swallow them and they won’t hurt you.
Eating kiwano melon straight from the rind is the easiest way to enjoy it, but not the only way.
You can also remove the seeds and use the jelly fruit in smoothies to provide extra flavor and nutrition. Kiwano melon has the perfect consistency to add to fruit salsas, providing a sweet and savory base for other flavors.
As a sweet fruit, Kiwano melon is also used as a key ingredient in sweet and savory fruit dishes like cakes, sauces, desserts, and drinks.
How Can I Store Kiwano Melon?
This fruit does not like the cold. Keep it out of the refrigerator at all costs!
You can keep a kiwano melon out on your countertop or in a basket at room temperature, with plenty of airflow. Ideally, the temperature of the room should be above 18C.
In these conditions, kiwano melon has an excellent shelf-life – up to 6 months!
The outer rind protects the fruit inside, so as long as you keep the temperature comfortable, you should be able to wait and enjoy your kiwano melon when you are ready.
Can You Freeze Kiwano Melon?
Unfortunately, freezing kiwano melon is off-limits.
With a water content of 88%, kiwano melon will turn to mush and its cells will be destroyed by the freezing process.
It’s a good idea to prepare kiwano melon as close as possible to the time you want to serve it, and avoid using the refrigerator or freezer to store it.
How Can I Pick A Kiwano Melon In A Grocery Store?
When looking at kiwano melons in the grocery store, you simply want to make sure that you choose one that is ripe and ready to eat and isn’t damaged or bruised.
The color should be orange, or orange-yellow rather than green.
A green coloration is an indication that the melon isn’t ripe yet, and will be unappetizing at best. Since kiwano melons do have a long shelf-life, you don’t want to wait to allow them to ripen at home.
Look for a kiwano melon with an orange-green coloration and no visible cuts or bruises.
Can You Grow Kiwano Melon?
It’s very easy to grow kiwano melon, especially compared to many other fruits that come from trees that take years to mature. You can harvest a delicious kiwano melon just 4 months after planting the seed!
Kiwano melons are very touchy about temperature – so if you are not in a tropical climate, you will want to start growing at the beginning of the summer and keep an eye on your plants to make sure they don’t get too chilly at night.
You can start kiwano seeds in large planters. You probably don’t need to order the seeds from a catalog.
If you are a fan of kiwano melon, just use the seeds that come inside the fruit! Kiwano fruit plants benefit from having a light layer of mulch on top of the soil to help the soil stay moist and prevent weeds.
It’s comparatively easy to grow your kiwano melons in the right temperature and climate, so if it’s a project you are interested in, you should go for it!
Kiwano Melon Nutritional Information
|Vitamin C||18% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)|
|Vitamin A||6% of the RDI|
|Vitamin B6||7% of the RDI|
|Magnesium||21% of the RDI|
|Iron||13% of the RDI|
|Phosphorous||8% of the RDI|
|Zinc||7% of the RDI|
|Potassium||5% of the RDI|
|Calcium||3% of the RDI|
Quick Table: Unique And Exotic Kiwano Recipes To Know
|Kiwano Cocktail||25||5 Minutes|
|Kiwano Orange Ice Cream||238||4 Hour 38 Minutes|
|Kiwano Horned Melon Fruit Salsa||44||30 Minutes|
This mix of gin, sparkling wine, kiwano, and lime served with mint leaves is as refreshing as a mojito with a special fruity punch that comes from the kiwano.
One of the things that we love most about kiwano melon is how refreshing and cool it is.
Even at room temperature or heated, kiwano melon has that cucumber quality of cooling and easing that is lovely to experience in a cocktail.
These cocktails can be prepared in about 5 minutes and highlight the most interesting and refreshing flavors of kiwano melon.
If you want to share your new favorite ingredient with a friend who might be apprehensive about spooning slimy jelly into their mouth, this is a way to give them the kiwano experience in a format they’re familiar with.
Total Preparation Time: 5 Minutes
Another way to beat the heat and bring out the refreshing flavor of kiwano melon is with ice cream! This egg-free recipe brings the fruity flavor of kiwano to your favorite dessert and is a big hit with both kids and adults.
Making ice cream takes some time, but you’ll be glad you did when you are finished with your own kiwano-flavored ice cream, bringing out the subtle flavors in a creamy treat.
This recipe tastes like an elevated creamsicle, with the orange flavors mingling with vanilla and all of the complexities of the kiwano-fruit base.
My favorite way to enjoy this recipe is with fresh kiwano melon served on top. Yum.
Total Preparation Time: 4 Hour 38 Minutes
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Kiwano melon was practically invented for fruit salsa. This delicious and far-from-ordinary fruit is both sweet and savory – with flavors that range from banana and passionfruit to cucumber and lime.
It also has an ideal consistency, providing an extra bit of gelatinous sauce to bind together the other chopped ingredients,
If you enjoy fruit salsa, adding kiwano melon will add a whole new dimension to the flavor experience.
Total Preparation Time: 30 Minutes
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Kiwano Melon Good For?
As a fruit, kiwano melon is good for eating! You can dive right in by cutting open the fruit and spooning the gooey deliciousness right into your mouth.
It is also good for dishes like fruit salsa, desserts, and cocktails.
Kiwano melon is good for your health, too. It has a lot of protein, not much fat or carbohydrates, tons of antioxidants, and many important nutrients that your body needs. With a water content of 88% and many electrolytes, it can rehydrate you after a workout.
What Is The Common Name Of Kiwano Fruit?
Kiwano fruit has many different names, depending on where you are from. In Africa, it is called kiwano melon and kiwano fruit. Elsewhere, it is called African Horned Cucumber, Horned Melon, Thorn Melon, jelly fruit, blowfish fruit, and more.
Is Kiwano Good For Weight Loss?
Kiwano melon makes a great part of a healthy diet. It is mostly water, nutrients, antioxidants, and electrolytes, plus protein.
Whether you are an athlete trying to cut weight or an average person trying to lose 5lbs, eating more kiwano melon will likely help you reach your weight-loss goals.
However, there is no miracle ingredient or compound in kiwano melon that helps you lose weight, specifically. Eating kiwano melon will not create drastic results, or replace exercise.
If you are on a weight-loss plan, kiwano melon is a great addition to your diet.
Where Does Kiwano Grow?
Kiwano melon grows year-round in tropical climates and is native to central and southern Africa, Australia, and some Pacific Islands.
Can A Pregnant Woman Eat Thorn Melon?
Yes, there is no danger to pregnant women from eating kiwano melon.
Kiwano melon is highly recommended for pregnant women.
It contains a high concentration of iron, which is a mineral pregnant women desperately need and often run out of (pregnancy-related anemia).
Eating a diet rich in kiwano melon while pregnant is a way to ensure your iron needs are met and you are getting most of your other nutritional requirements, too.
Is Kiwano Related To Kiwi?
Kiwano fruit has a sweet and tangy flavor that some people have occasionally compared to kiwifruit.
Despite the name and this slight similarity in flavor, kiwano melon is not closely related to the kiwi, which is an entirely different kind of fruit. Kiwano melon is most closely related to the cucumber, not the kiwi