Kiwanos are some crazy looking fruit! Inside and out they are definitely not your same old same old.
What Do Kiwano Look Like?
Kiwanos are oval shaped fruits with pronounced spiky points all over. They are yellow or orange, and about 4 or 5 inches long. Inside they are super seedy, with a bright emerald green very liquidy flesh surrounding the seeds.
Where Are Kiwanos From?
They are a traditional fruit plant in Africa, where they can survive the tough dry desert weather. They are also popular in New Zealand, Australia and parts of the U.S.
How to Choose Kiwano
Choose firm fruit with a slight give. The deeper orange they are, the better the flavor. Make sure at least most if not of all the points, or “horns” are intact. Avoid any bruises or cuts or dings or soft spots. Be careful as the spikes or horns can be very sharp.
How to Ripen Kiwanos
Kiwanos should be ripened at room temperature. They are ripe when the skin turns orange, They should not be refrigerated as the cold temperature will affect the texture of the fruit negatively.
How to Prepare Kiwanos
When ripe, cut them in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out the green liquid and seeds, avoiding the more dense core running down the center. You’ll see that each seed is kind of encased in a little sac of this loose jelly-textured flesh. The flesh and seeds can be eaten straight, added to fruit salads most commonly, or if you want to strain out the seeds, the juice can be used in drinks and desserts, and other preparations.
The skin can also be eaten, though proceed with caution, both because it’s leathery, and those spikes could really hurt!
What is the Texture of Kiwano?
The flesh is really a very loose kind of slimy liquid, and the seeds are like extra hard cucumber seeds. The seeds are difficult to chew, so they are simply swallowed with the fruit. Alternately you can suck off the jelly and spit out the seeds. The texture of kiwanos texture is somewhat similar to passion fruit, with the combination of very soft insides and seeds.
What Do Kiwanos Taste Like?
The flavor is very subtle, but they are a bit tart, with hints of kiwi, cucumber, passionfruit, banana and lime. The flavor changes as they ripen, but they can be eaten ripe or unripe. The taste is definitely refreshing.
What Are Some Other Names for Kiwanos?
Kiwanos might also be labeled or called horned melon, spiked melon, African Horned Cucumber, African Horned Melon, jelly melon, hedged = gourd or melano.
Are Kiwanos Nutritious?
They provide generous amounts of vitamins A and C, and minerals like iron and calcium.