The Kiwano Melon is an interesting looking fruit, that is a member of the melon and cucumber family. It grows mostly in the woodlands of Angola, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana and South Africa. It has spiny horns, which explains why some call it the African Horned Cucumber. It also has a greenish yellowish skin that transforms into a bright deep orange colour when ripe. Inside the Kiwano Melon is a green jelly-like pulp with edible seeds. It tastes like a combination of banana, melon and cucumber. What an interesting fruit. The Kiwano Melon has such a unique appearance, that the producers of Star Trek featured it on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, as a Golana Melon.
Like any fruit, the Kiwano Melon’s main purpose is to be eaten for enjoyment, but I’ve learnt that its health benefits far outweight the pleasures. The leaves are rich in calcium, iron, nicotinic acid and Vitamin C. The actual fruit has more nutrition than the cucumber. It is a water source for the Khoisan people who live in the dry Kalahari Desert, which has limited amounts of water.
Some boil the leaves and use them as a poultice. Some use the leaves for food seasoning. The root of the Kiwano can be added to heated water, to induce diarrhea in patients suffering from constipation. The Kiwano Melon is also used to promote body immunity. It reduces age spots, scars, wrinkles and blemishes, and boosts eyesight.
How To Eat The Kiwano Melon:
1. Cut the fruit vertically into two halves.
2. Scoop out the jelly-like flesh with a tablespoon.
3. Enjoy the Kiwano on its own, or add it to salads or beverages.
4. Do not eat the skin.
Warning: Do not eat a Kiwano Melon before it’s ripe. The bitter forms of the Kiwano, before it’s ripe, can have dangerous levels of chemicals that are not present when the fruit is ready to eat. This toxicity can cause stomach issues, headaches, and fevers.