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Horned Melon FAQs

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.

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.

Like an old friend with lots of nicknames, the horned melon goes by more than a few monikers. Botanically known as Cucumis metuliferus, it’s also commonly referred to as the kiwano melon, the jelly melon, melano or African cucumber.  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.

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. The green, gel-like pulp this melon is known for surrounds small, off white seeds that are soft and edible.

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.

Preparing a horned melon for recipes is easy! Wait until they are fully ripe and orange on the outside, then slice the fruit in half longways. Separate the pulp from the rind by scooping it out of the inedible rind and into a bowl. From here, horned melon can be incorporated into all sorts of recipes like sweet and savory meals, cocktails, juices and snacks.

Yes! The seeds on the horned melon are edible. Horned melon, or kiwano, has soft, whitish 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.

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 known as a delicious and nutritious fruit, particularly high in vitamin C and contains more protein than many fruits. Below, find the nutrition facts for horned melon.

Horned Melon Nutrition (100g).

  • Calories 44
  • Protein: 2g
  • Carbohydrates: 8g
  • Calcuim: 13mg
  • Magnesium: 40 mg
  • Phosphorus: 37 mg
  • Potassium: 123 mg
  • Sodium 2mg
  • Vitamin C: 5mg

Visit the USDA for more nutritional information about horned melon.

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

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, also known as kiwano 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!

The flavor of horned melon is unmistakably fresh and sour. Around each soft, white seed is an emerald-colored pulp sac that contains the edible portion that the horned melon is known for. Often, the taste of horned, or kiwano melon is described as a combination of cucumber, lime, and even a bit of kiwilike sweetness. The aroma is sweet and green, and the texture is pleasantly jellylike.

Once you get your hands on one of these rare beauties, you may wonder, how do I eat this? Well, don’t let those little spikes fool you! Horned melon is easy to slice open and add to your favorite raw and cooked recipes, sweet and savory alike. Horned melon pulp and seeds are edible raw, and the brightly colored peel is typically not eaten. However, the beautiful peel can be filled and used as a decorative serving option.

Some of the most common ways horned melons are eaten are as a raw snack, added to sauces, soups and salads, and even used for meaty preparations. The jellylike fruit can be scooped over yogurt or granola, and added to snacky salsas. The clean, sour flavor makes horned melon a welcome addition to a variety of recipes.

The sour, cucumber-meets-lime flavor gives an unexpected twist to many kinds of beverages. Horned melon adds a sophisticated freshness to fresh juices, plain water, cocktails, batch and frozen drinks. Green, jellylike and vegetal, the delicate pulp is naturally ready to be swirled, shaken and mixed into beverages that can use a little oomph.

To make delicious alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, strain the seedy pulp of your horned melons to make a basic syrup for adding to your favorite drinks.

Delicious and nutritious, horned melons also keep fresh on the countertop, where they can last for almost two weeks. Refrigerating them whole can diminish their flavor, so keep these at room temp until you want to use them. Leftover sliced horned melon can be refrigerated when stored in an airtight container for 1-2 days.

To freeze horned melons, wait until they are fully ripened. Then, scoop out the pulp into a freezer safe, airtight container in the freezer for up to three months. You can choose to keep the seeds and pulp intact, or strain the green jelly from the soft, white seeds.

Here at FruitStand, we love sharing our special fruit with our furry friends. That’s why we encourage you to clear the safety of any new fruits or veggies with your veterinarian before offering them your pooch. Horned melons are a good example of a fruit where there’s not a lot of information about whether dogs can eat it safely.

Eating a horned melon is a fruit experience we think everyone needs to have! We recommend rocking a smock or your favorite apron when diving into a horned melon because if the lush green color of the pulp comes into contact with certain fabrics, it can leave a stain.

The tasty green pulp of horned melon can get a little messy. If you drop a bit of horned melon on your clothing, table cloth or napkins, first treat the spot with a stain remover that’s safe for that particular fabric. Follow the directions on the product to prevent the spot from setting, and pop the item into the washer as soon as you can.

Compared to popular melons like cantaloupe and honeydew, horned melons have an unexpected texture that makes them unique. Slice one in half and you’re treated to a shimmery, emerald colored pulp inside rather than dense flesh. Horned melon’s flavor is fresh and bright like other melons, but leans into a more cucumber-meets-lime flavor territory rather than sweet and musky.

Has your fruit been around a little longer than you anticipated? It’s easy to get bad smells from horned melons out of your house with a few simple steps.

First, discard any spoiled horned melon into the compost or trash. Then, thoroughly clean the area where fruit was stored with hot, soapy water or home cleaning spray. Let it dry thoroughly.

To prevent bad smells from fruit in your kitchen and home, keep an old-fashioned box of baking soda in your fridge and anywhere you store food every two to three months to prevent unpleasant aromas before they start. Immediately refrigerate cut horned melon and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When not refrigerated, store whole, fresh horned melons in a cool, clean and well-ventilated area.

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!

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