I’m on a quest to learn about cool, unique fruits this spring, and I want you to join me! Last week I tried the sweet, bubblegum/ice-cream-tasting fruit cherimoya (AKA custard apple), and today I’m trying something even stranger: kiwano.
Also known as the African horned melon, this crazy-looking fruit originally hails from the southern parts of Africa. It has since been grown in both New Zealand and Australia — where it was renamed kiwano — as well as in Chile, California, and Mississippi.
The outside is bright, colorful, and spiky — it has also been called the blowfish fruit — and the inside is green with a jelly-like texture, similar to that of a cucumber. Its taste has been compared to either a cucumber/zucchini combo, or a lemon/cucumber/melon combo. I personally agree with the latter — there was definitely a lot of lemony flavor going on when I tried it.
The main nutrients this fruit offers up are iron for your muscles and brain, potassium — crucial for function of cells, tissues, and organs, and vitamin C to keep your immune system pumping. The seeds and skin are edible, as well! The seeds contain linoleic and oleic acid to help aid general health and lower blood pressure, respectively. The seeds also contain antioxidants a-tocopherol and y-tocopherol, which are both organic types of vitamin E — great for your skin, nerves, muscles, and heart. The peel has more vitamin C for your immune system, as well as dietary fiber to help with digestion.
When purchasing a kiwano, make sure it’s orange in color and gives a little when you give it a slight squeeze. If it’s green and firm, wait until it’s fully ripe before eating.
To eat, first cut in half along the equator (short-ways). You can hold the fruit to your mouth, slowly squeezing it from the lower end. The little jelly pockets — each containing a single seed — will slide right out. You can also scoop and eat the fruit with a spoon.
Tip: Add a dash of sugar or salt to increase the flavor!
Kiwanos also make for a really interesting-tasting margarita — get the recipe here!
Jana and I were saying it’d be pretty funny to start carrying around kiwanos with us wherever we went… just casually bringing them along as a nice accessory to any outfit. Do you think that’d be a good look? Ha!
Have you tried a kiwano? Let me know which rad fruit I should try text!
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