Kiwano: A Failed Kitchen Adventure

This is a kiwano, also known as horned melon. It already looks like some exotic, potentially dangerous (don’t worry, those spikes aren’t really sharp) fruit, right?

Cut it open, and you find this craziness:

Yes, it comes pre-filled with lime jello.

Well, not quite. It does have a lime green center filled with little sacs of gel and seeds. Sounds appetizing, right? It gets better – it tastes a bit like cucumber and lemon. So, in essence, the strangest fruit I’ve ever encountered. But this also makes it the perfect ingredient for my blog, in theory.

Unfortunately, it was a bit of a disaster. First, the gel sacs are tough to get out of the fruit and nearly impossible to deseed and juice. After a lot of effort, I got some juice out and attempted to make a tart frozen yogurt using Greek yogurt. It didn’t quite work, both in flavor and texture (I didn’t use an ice cream machine or take the yogurt out of the freezer to stir it).

I couldn’t bring myself to spend several more dollars to get another melon. If it had an amazing flavor, I wouldn’t mind, but it just wasn’t worth it. Lesson be learned: this fruit isn’t worth the price tag.

Have you ever cooked with or eaten a kiwano? Did you like it?

8 Comments on Kiwano: A Failed Kitchen Adventure

  1. Jessi
    March 24, 2010 at 8:14 am (11 years ago)

    I tried to look up where the fruit comes from and found this- which kinda makes me laugh.
    I feel your pain as many of my receipes have flopped, but it sounds like two things happened; 1 the fruit wasnt ripe and 2 you cut it the wrong direction to get the fruit out. I probably would have done the same thing, you cut it in the direction you do a mango…makes sense to me!

    Those as curious as I am; Kiwano grow in the Kalahari Desert/ Plateau which is in the Southern Parts of Africa stretching over Botswana and Namibia. It is a semi- arid “desert” which is what makes it so friendly to fruits such as these and animals.

    I have had this before, and ate it as the video suggests. It does have a sort of banana flavor. And its fun to suck the fruit, kinda like eating jello with braces. Ew! Bad picture! Hahaha!

    • Stephanie
      March 26, 2010 at 8:45 am (11 years ago)

      Thanks for the info Jessi! I probably should have put more info about the fruit in the post – I was a little bitter about the experience clearly and didn’t want to think about it anymore!

  2. SpicyGreenMango
    March 31, 2010 at 8:15 pm (11 years ago)

    But honestly, this was worth it for the pictures. Love the colors–so vibrant with that splash of orangy red and lime. It wasn’t a total loss in my book.

    • Stephanie
      March 31, 2010 at 9:02 pm (11 years ago)

      So true – the pictures were the best part. It was fun and easy to photograph too, because of the vibrant and strange colors.

  3. babyblizz
    April 14, 2010 at 6:17 am (11 years ago)

    I’ve never seen this fruit. Where can I find it?

    • Stephanie
      April 14, 2010 at 2:28 pm (11 years ago)

      It may be hard to find depending on where you live. I found in at a grocery store in Northern California. They originated in Africa but are now grown in New Zealand, Australia, Chile and California according to Wikipedia.

  4. Christopher
    January 30, 2012 at 1:54 pm (10 years ago)

    Chiming in a bit late here, sorry about that. The trick is that these things have to be sweetened. The juice is good with sugar/artificial sweetner, and if you blend it in with sweetened vanilla yogurt its very good as well.

    Kind of like a grapefruit or a lemon in that regard, I suppose. You’d have to be crazy to eat it straight, but sweeten it a bit and it gets very good

    I’m growing some of these along with some sugar cane this year. I plan on making some interesting drinks out of them!

    • Stephanie
      January 31, 2012 at 7:27 pm (10 years ago)

      @Christopher – thanks for the tips! I’ll have to try it with some sugar or yogurt.

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