Odd Fruits: Kiwano (Well Fed Network Article)

January 14, 2006 in Food Porn, fruit, Growers & Grocers Blog, Well Fed Network

kiwano dissected

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There, you will find a lot of very fresh material, writing, recipes, reviews, cocktail mixological magic and several articles by me, including the following. Enjoy.

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Odd Fruit: Kiwano Fruit – Horned Melon

These days big supermarket chains are selling small numbers of “odd fruits” in the produce section. Maybe the store is trying to compete with the large variety of fruits at upscale grocers or perhaps they think that these fruits are in demand by the “ethnic” shoppers in the area. Maybe they figured out that some people will inevitably become jaded with the MacIntosh and Clemintines they push every day. Some days when I’m shopping, I’m so repulsed by the hot house tomatoes and drab green asparagus bundles soaking in murky water, I check out the odd fruit. Usually, I stare at the display a while, pick up a few fruits, try to imagine what lies inside the rind, and consider buying one to get some spice into the supermarket cart.

That’s how I found myself with a Kiwano (Cucumis tuliferus). This fruit is also known as a Horned Melon, African horned cucumber or melon, jelly melon, hedged gourd, or English tomato. (Kiwano Wikipedia entry)

The rind is a stunning orange-yellow color with spikes. When you cut into it you find the most improbable of evolution’s gifts: little seeds surrounded by livid green gelatinous material. When I was taking the photo I was entranced by the clarity of the gel, the vivid colors, and the spikes on the rind. It looks like it should taste like a green apple Jolly Rancher, but in fact it has a muted, cucumber-like flavor.

Should a kiwano find its way into your cart, the following recipes may give you some ideas for using this unusual fruit.

Recipes:

Even the USDA says this fruit is rather more like a cucumber in taste and perhaps should be considered in cucumber recipes, such as raita.

I found the following recipe for a Kiwano Raita by Chef Norman Van Aken in his book The Great Exotic Fruit Book: A Handbook of Tropical and Subtropical Fruits with Recipes.

Kiwano Melon (Horned Melon) with Chile de Arbol Raita


Ingredients:

1 Kiwano/Horned Melon – cut in half, flesh scooped out and roughly chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup red onion finely chopped
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/8 teaspoon garam masala
1/8 teaspoon chile de arbol
Salt to taste
1/2 tablespoon cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

Directions:

Squeeze the kiwano flesh over a bowl and collect the juice and seeds.

Discard the fibrous pulp. Add the onion, yogurt, and sour cream to the kiwano and mix together.

Combine the mustard, cumin and corander seeds with the peppercorns in a dry skillet. Toast until fragrant and transfer to a spice grinder. coarsely grind and add the yogurt mixture. Add the garam marsala, chile powder, salt, and cilantro, and thoroughly combine. Keep covered in the refrigerator.

Another recipe from Chef Van Aken’s book is –

Secret of Paradise Ice Cream Dessert

You’ll need one large kiwano, one small tub of banana yogurt, honey to taste, and vanilla ice cream. Cut fruit in half and remove pulp. Mix honey, yogurt, and pulp. Pour into kiwano half-shell. Add ice cream, whipped cream, and a cherry.

Books and Resources of Interest:

Other Kiwano recipes: