Kiwano melon – Have you tried this interesting fruit?

By Mark Wiens 16 Comments
Kiwano melon
Begging to be tried

Few things make me more excited than weird fruit.

Ok, it’s not actually weird, but it’s more unique – fruit that’s new to me – something that has naturally grown on a tree that I’ve never tasted before.

Wood apples in Sri Lanka, cempedak throughout Southeast Asia, and that unique egg yolk fruit in Thailand, are just a few examples.

what is a kiwano melon
2 kiwano melons waiting to be eaten

And then, in the unlikely place of Phoenix, Arizona, USA, walking though the organic produce store, I came across something that caught my eye.

It was a thorny little guy, and the bright multiple shades of orange skin made it stand out with beauty.

They were rather expensive at $3.99 a fruit, but there’s no holding me back when I need to try a new fruit.

Kiwano Melon
The Kiwano Melon

What is a Kiwano Melon?

Looking at the label, I saw it was a kiwano melon, or another name, the horned melon.

Before eating, I did a little research about the melon, discovering that it’s native to Africa, and especially eaten in the southern section of the continent around the Kalahari dessert. It grows well with little water.

The kiwano grows on a vine, and it’s part of the cucumber family of fruits. A host of vitamins and plenty of fiber make it quite a nutritious thing to eat.

Horned Melon
Also known as a horned melon

Eating a Horned Melon

So there I was, faced with the task of sampling and devouring two horned melons, a fruit I had never even seen or heard of before walking through the grocery store in Phoenix.

The beauty of the fruit continued as I sliced it in half and found a bright green interior; Green and orange are two of my favorite colors.

I grabbed a spoon and began to dig in.

Kiwano melon
Spooning out the kiwano melon

How does it taste?

First of all, the seeds are incredibly tough and hard to chew. They have the same texture as a cucumber seed, but they are much tougher.

Around each of the seeds is a gel like membrane that’s sort of soupy, and sort of jello-like.

I had to chew the seeds until I could chew no more and then just swallow the entire bite. Texture wasn’t the greatest due to the seeds (but after reading about it, some say they separate the gel from the seeds).

Overall, it had the freshness of a cucumber, mixed with the sweet and sourness of a kiwi fruit. The overall flavor was quite excellent, not too sweet, and almost lemony.

Apparently, it’s possible to eat the shell as well, but I didn’t know that at the time, so I didn’t have a chance to eat the skin.

The Verdict

Unlike the king of fruits touching my lips for the very first time years and years ago, where I nearly cried with overjoy, the kiwano was alright, but not amazing.

I would buy it again (if it was cheaper), but probably try to use it in a smoothie or a cocktail or something like that.

Have you ever tried a kiwano melon?

16 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • Spinner Tools

    1 year ago

    Very nice, indeed.

  • High Rated Gabru

    2 years ago

    Interesting food blog. I’ll definitely try it.

  • sankar singh

    3 years ago

    never hear of such fruit ..KIWANO not even name .looks like something relate to harry potter story .

  • sankar singh

    3 years ago

    never hear of such fruit ..KIWANO not even name .looks like something relate to harry potter story . how this fruit taste like ?

  • lam

    5 years ago

    i have a presentation on this topic and i am confused on what exactly to do. i needdddddddddd helppppppp!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Zara @ Backpack ME

    10 years ago

    I tried it in Ecuador but it wasn’t nearly as expensive and the ones you bought!!
    It was good, but not the best I had in the country, as Ecuador has PLENTY of amazingly fresh and tasty fruits… all available everywhere and for a very good price too!

    • Mark Wiens

      10 years ago

      Hey Zara, glad to hear you’ve tried this fruit too!

  • David

    10 years ago

    Funky fruit … I’ll have to keep an eye out for them locally!

    • Mark Wiens

      10 years ago

      Let me know how you like it when you can find it David!

  • Rob

    10 years ago

    I’ve never heard of it, but I swear I saw a similar fruit in the supermarket this last week. As a fellow fruit lover, I might have to stop by and try it!

  • Patty

    10 years ago

    Actually begun to see this fruit in Kenyan fruit and veg kiosks last year. Bought one but cut into it before it had fully ripened so my own experience was not a happy one. Cost 30/- each and are smaller than what is in your pictures. Will probably just stick to our sweet watermelon. Here’s hoping the king of fruits makes its way down here too. I’d love to try it.

    • Mark Wiens

      10 years ago

      Thanks for sharing Patty. When I was living in Kenya, I had never seen it before. Glad you got to try it!

  • Arti

    10 years ago

    That seems quite cool, what with the bright orange peel and the greenish inside! Never seen or heard about it till now, hope I get to try it out sometime! Thanks for this Mark 🙂

    • Mark Wiens

      10 years ago

      Thanks Arti, yah, I really loved the colors as well!