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All About Horned Melon

nick musica
Published Dec 28, 2020. Read time: 1 minute

Is it a gourd? A blowfish? Nope, that’s a horned melon! Also known as the kiwano melon, the jelly melon or African cucumber, the horned melon is a delightfully sour and refreshing fruit experience! Botanically a fruit, but sometimes used as a culinary vegetable, the unique sour, fresh and slightly sweet flavor of this funny little melon is something very special!

At FruitStand, we look forward to sending you a beautiful package of these extraordinary fruits from our small specialty farms partners. Keep reading to learn all about horned melon!

Botanically known as Cucumis metuliferus, the horned melon goes by more than a few monikers. This unique fruit is also called the kiwano melon, the jelly melon, melano or African cucumber. Like their melon and gourd family members, horned melons are considered botanical berries, but can teeter into culinary vegetable territory.

The flavor of horned melon is unmistakably fresh and sour, often described as a combination of cucumber, lime, and even a bit of kiwilike sweetness. Around each soft, white seed is an emerald-colored pulp sac. The aroma is sweet and green, and the texture is pleasantly jellylike. 

To the newly introduced, horned melons might seem a little weird. But in fact, their texture and unique, fresh flavor allows them the versatility to shine in all kinds of recipes. Horned melon, can be enjoyed raw, cooked or in tasty beverages. You can use horned melon in recipes from savory sauces and light fruit salads, as delicate yogurt topping or in drinks for all ages! 

On the outside, horned melon skin is yellowish orange, with smooth, taut texture (with the exception of the naturally occurring “horns'' that give this sour melon its name). Slice it open and you’ll be captivated by its glittering peridot flesh inside. 

While the rind is typically not consumed, horned melon seeds are edible. Horned melon has soft, white seeds that are similar in look, flavor and texture to the white seeds in watermelon or even cucumber seeds. When eaten, horned melon seeds add a mildly crunchy texture to the thin, jellylike pulp of the fruit. The seeds can be easily separated, if desired, by straining through a fine mesh sieve.

These melons are especially delicious when fully ripe. A ripe horned melon will be easy to spot by its yellowish-orange skin. When immature, horned melons are green and very bitter. There will be no brown or green left, and the skin should be Usually around five inches long, horned melon will feel heavy in your hand for their size when ripe. The fruit should slightly yield to gentle pressure when fully ripe.

Horned melon hails from Kalahari, Africa, where it grows natively. Today it’s cultivated in New Zealand and the United States, too.

Horned melon hails from Kalahari, Africa, where it grows natively. Today it’s cultivated in New Zealand and the United States, too.

Horned melons are available year round, but peak in deliciousness in the summertime.

Whether a horned melon is certified organic or not will depend on the farm where it was grown. At FruitStand, we only partner with the best specialty farms for exceptional quality of produce. When each harvest is available, we'll tell you whether the fruit is considered organic or conventional.

If you’ve ever wondered where to buy horned melon, we’ve got great news for you! FruitStand is proud to partner with small, specialty farmers to bring you exceptional quality horned melon. To be the first to know when FruitStand is shipping horned melon harvests, join our email newsletter!

Show us your horned melon questions and unboxing videos on Instagram @Fruitstandcom!

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