How to Eat a Kiwano (Horned Melon)

Three Parts:Preparing the KiwanoEating the Kiwano RawUsing Kiwano in Cooking

Native to the Kalahari Desert, the Kiwano is also known as the Horned Melon, the melano, the African horned cucumber, the jelly melon, and the hedged gourd. When allowed to ripen, the fruit tastes like a mix of cucumbers, kiwis, and bananas. Now that you have one of these interesting fruits, where do you start? Read on to find out.

Part 1
Preparing the Kiwano

  1. Image titled Eat a Kiwano (Horned Melon) Step 1
    Choose a kiwano that is fully ripened. It'll have an orange rind with orange spikes. Squeeze it slightly to make sure it has some give and isn't rock hard and green. If you can't find a fully ripened fruit at the store, wait for it to turn orange before eating it.
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    Give it a rinse. While you won't be eating the outside, it's always a good idea to rinse fruit you're planning on cutting, to avoid any pesticides or other chemicals on the outside when you cut into it with a knife.
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    Cut the fruit in half short-ways, across the equator. Set one half aside. This is the best way of cutting the fruit for eating it by itself.
    • If you want to scoop the seeds out for use in a recipe or fruit salad, it can be easier to scoop if you cut it lengthwise. It's up to you.

Part 2
Eating the Kiwano Raw

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    Hold one half of the fruit up to your mouth. Slowly, but firmly, squeeze the fruit from the lower end. Each tiny greenish sac will contain a cucumber-like seed, and they should come to the cut surface of the fruit easily with a little pressure.
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    Eat them. Like a pomegranate, the seeds are perfectly edible, but are somewhat bland. What you're after is the sweet green flesh around the seed. You can take one at a time into your mouth and separate the seed before spitting it out, or take a whole mouthful and chew it up.
    • If you don't like the seeds, try pinching the sac of fruit gently with your front teeth. Suck the sac of fruit through your top and bottom teeth, pinching enough to hold the seed on the outside of your teeth, yet still allowing the fruit to pass through.
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    Consider scooping out the fruit. You can also scoop out the seeds into a bowl and eat them with a spoon if you prefer. Its easier to break the little green kernels that way, but can be somewhat easier if you don't want to bury your face in the fruit.

Part 3
Using Kiwano in Cooking

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    Add kiwano to a fruit salad. Like kiwi, kiwano can make a nice colorful addition to a fruit salad, and an unexpected treat for guests. Mix bananas, mango, and melon with a sprinkling of kiwano for a beautiful summer fruit salad.[1]
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    Garnish roasted meat with kiwano. Grilling steaks or chops? Instead of topping with rich cheese or mushrooms, consider sprinkling some kiwano kernels on top of your meat a few minutes before serving for an exotic and tangy highlight.[2]
  3. Image titled Eat a Kiwano (Horned Melon) Step 9
    Make kiwano salsa. Seed one kiwano melon into a bowl and mix it with:
    • the juice of one lime
    • a clove of garlic
    • a palm-full of fresh chopped cilantro
    • one green onion, or a 1/8 of a white onion
    • a quarter-teaspoon of cumin
    • Mix in a small amount of vegetable oil to coat the mixture and use the salsa as a garnish for meat, grilled vegetables, or eat it with chips for some surprising nachos.
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    Garnish cocktails with kiwano. Sprinkle a few green kernels into a champagne flute before mixing up a mimosa or to highlight a gin and tonic instead of a lime slice.
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    Make the Intergalactic Nebula. Remove the Kiwano melon seeds and place in a cup. Fill the cup with sparkling red grape juice cocktail 3/4 of the way to the top of the cup. With the remainder space, add half and a half (optional), Serve in layers for the best look before stirring.


  • Cut the horns off the fruit if they bother your hand, but there should be ample space between the horns to hold the fruit with comfort.
  • You can use a straw to suck up the still sacked-seeds from a bowl.
  • You can squeeze out all the seed sacs at once into a bowl, and then work on them from there without having to deal with the horned shell.
  • Wrap up any uneaten Kiwano and refrigerate for later consumption.
  • Dry/dehydrate the shells and use them for little dishes. Stuff them gently with

paper towel; replace paper towels if it stays moist or else it will mould.

  • Ensure the kiwano are cold before you cook them.


  • The spines aren't dangerous, but can be somewhat sharp. Be careful when handling.

Things You'll Need

  • Kiwano fruit
  • Bowl

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