Category Archives: Horned melon

Horned Melon: Information and Health Benefits

The horned melon a very interesting exotic fruit – it goes by many, many names, and is a type of cucumber or melon.  The horned melon, also known as the African cucumber, African horned cucumber, melano, kiwano, or English tomato, is native to Africa.  Now, it’s cultivated in many places around the world, such as California, Chile, Australia, and New Zealand.  The horned melon is very uncommon in the western world and quite little-known, though it does pack many unique health benefits.

The African cucumber is becoming more and more prominent in the western world, similarly to other exotic fruit – it’s also called the “blowfish fruit” in southeastern United States.  The name “blowfish fruit” is a very good name for it, in my opinion, for its unique shape and texture.

horned melon

Half a horned melon displaying the jelly-like inside.

The kiwano is quite an interesting fruit, unlike any other.  The outside of the horned melon is an oval-shaped, yellow to orange-colored melon, covered in small spikes.  Inside, the horned melon becomes even more interesting.  The flesh of the African cucumber is lime green colored, and is almost like jelly, though it’s quite similar to a cucumber.

The horned melon has been part of African culture and cuisine since ancient times.  It’s mainly eaten in Zimbabwe as a snack or used in salads.  Interestingly, the kiwano can be eaten at any stage of ripeness, whether it’s green colored or the bright yellow color of the mature fruit.

The taste of the horned melon is something that a lot of people will like.  To me, it is a very refreshing taste, somewhat like a combination of cucumbers, zucchini, bananas, and lemon.

Though the peel of the African cucumber is covered in spikes (though they aren’t pointy), the peel is edible, and provides many great nutrients.  The peel, in fact, is a great source of both vitamin C and fiber.  The gelatin-like-covered seeds are not commonly eaten, but are also edible.

The African cucumber has been a huge part of traditional cuisine in Africa, and provides many health benefits and nutrients.  It has been shown through modern tests to provide a wide plethora of nutrients.  The horned melon is also seen as a great food source for those living in Africa, supporting sustainable farming.

Further reading

  1. [amazon asin=1931686807&text=Field Guide to Produce: How to Identify, Select, and Prepare Virtually Every Fruit and Vegetable at the Market]
  2. [amazon asin=0684800012&text=On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen]