Introducing the Horned Melon…

The Horned melon is also known as the African horned cucumber or melon, jelly melon, hedged gourd, English tomato, melano, or kiwano, and is an annual vine in the cucumber and melon family.

It’s Sunday and you know what that means… I had a bit more time to play in the kitchen.

But let me back up a little. I was pleasantly surprised when I walked into my regular grocery store this morning (Albertsons) and there was a renovation project under way. Walls had been moved, linoleum tiles had been pulled up and now some temporary shelves were in place. And then.. and then I walked around the corner to the produce section (where I begin my Sunday journey), and … it had a whole new feel. It was like walking right into a farmer’s market downtown! (Minus the bad jewelry tent and cheesey pots and pans salesman, of course!)

I stood there for a minute, I looked around and then before I knew it I felt a smile coming on!

There in front of me were nicely arranged rows of apple varieties, oranges and tangerines (too many varieties to count)… the list goes on. Lining the wall on the left side of the store were new produce shelves. The new spray system was freshening things up a bit… and as I walked closer I saw piles of fresh herbs: bundled stacks of chives, mint, cilantro, basil, bay leaves (and more) welcomed me to their new home.

I saw 3 or 4 different types of broccoli… even in different colors! There on the wall, standing at attention, was regular and white asparagus, baby artichokes and regular artichokes, tarro root, fresh ginger, lemongrass sprouts… oh, the list goes on and on.

This was a step above my normal produce section! Boy have they been busy since last Sunday! And how blessed I felt in that moment…

In the middle of the produce section were round, elevated displays holding market baskets full of goodies: heirloom tomatoes, star fruit, 3 types of avocadoes, mangoes, passion fruit, coconut (and white coconut too!), kiwis, Bosc pears (and several other types)… and then I saw this strange, prickley-looking thing… the bright orange hue was inviting me to pick it up!

So, let’s take another look at it…

And so I did… of course I did! I had never seen anything like it before! It was almost like a dream… am I becoming a little too melodramatic now?!

The spikes are a little prickley… but the outer flesh of this melon is a little tougher than a tomato. I could press on the skin and feel the “meat” inside the fruit was soft. It didn’t smell on the outside.

I read the label on the market basket… “Horned Melon, product of New Zealand”. And now, for the life of me, I can’t remember what else the label said. Wow… but whatever it said, I was buying it and taking it home with me. I needed to know more about this intriguing melon!

Come with me on my journey…

The rest of the groceries were put away, the laundry started, the windows thrown open (it’s such a beautiful day today – and by “beautiful” I mean “cold and blustery” and I’m in love), the classical music on… it’s time to learn something new!

Here I go, ready or not… it was time to cut into the melon…

Immediately it made a mess…

The consistency of the “meat” inside is more like jello that hasn’t quite set yet…

Next? I smelled it… but it didn’t really smell like anything…

When I took a closer look at the inside of this melon I found a million tiny sacks, and inside were the seeds.

By squeezing the fruit, the sacks pop right out … and careful, they really pop out!

Using the end of a spoon could help them out from hiding, if needed. Or cutting another slice could help too… scrape again with the spoon…

And voila…

Since the seeds are inside the sacks there’s no point in trying to get rid of the seeds. They can be swallowed… in fact, this is so liquidy that there is no chewing involved. I swirled the jello-like substance around in my mouth … and what was it like?

It tasted like a combination of kiwi and a mellow lime and cucumber… with a hint of banana. Not only did it LOOK like something I’d never seen before but it also had a whole new flavor profile… like something I’d never TASTED before…

It was kinda slimy, kinda gooey… and really YUMMY! And I’ve set aside the other half of it to take into work tomorrow… I just know that a certain friend of mine is going to love to try this…

Enjoy your adventures with new ingredients…

enjoy your time in the kitchen…

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One thought on “Introducing the Horned Melon…

  1. I tried them once…kinda like a lemon cucumber as I remember…They look really pretty if you slice them the opposite direction…check it out next time 🙂 Kinda pricey too don't ya think?

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