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Horned Melons

Horned Melons

Horned Melons
© Denzil Green

Horned Melons have little horns growing out of bright yellow skin with a bit of orange on it . They are about 3 to 5 inches long (7.5 to 13 cm) and average 2 inches wide (5 cm.) They will weigh anywhere from 1 to 2 pounds (1/2 a kilo to a kilo.)

Inside, the flesh looks like lime-green jelly, and has a somewhat grassy smell to it.

This is a problematic melon. Unless there are two varieties floating around, then it appears that in eating this melon two genetically different taste bud genes are emerging in humans.

Some food writers say the seeds are edible, and that the wonderful sweet and sour taste is a complex combination of banana, cucumber, lime, mango pineapple and watermelon flavours.

To others, the seeds are technically edible, but they are as appealing as the tough, bitter and stringy seeds found in a cucumber that is past it. And it could be that to people in this genetic camp, the taste is so complex that they can't detect it: to these people, there is no taste at all. Zip-dee-doo-dah flavour. These people seem to be in the same camp as most mammals, because most mammals won't even touch it.

It is grown in California and New Zealand. Its copyrighted name is "Kiwano."

Cooking Tips

The shell is not edible. You eat it by cutting the fruit in half and spooning the green goo out. Not appropriate for slicing into wedges.

Or, cut the top off, clean out and discard all the insides, and use as a glass for a drink, or cut in half, clean out, and use as fun bowls.

Storage Hints

Never store in refrigerator. Don't store near bananas or apples or any fruit that produces a lot of ethylene ripening gas.

History Notes

Native to South-west and Central Africa. Introduced to Australia and New Zealand in the 1930s as an ornamental plant, which escaped cultivation and became a weed.

Literature & Lore

Scuttlebutt has it that this is the fruit used on Star Trek when they want to portray alien fruit. You may have seen it in the series either in a bowl or scurrying about.


Babáco Melons; Banana Melons; Cassabanana Melons; Horned Melons; Korean Melon; Melons; Summer Melons; Winter Melon Squash; Winter Melons

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Also called:

African Horned Cucumber; Jelly Melon; Kiwano; Cucumis metuliferus E. Mey. ex Naud (Scientific Name); Concombre africain, Melon cornu (French)


Oulton, Randal. "Horned Melons." CooksInfo.com. Published 26 January 2004; revised 26 August 2005. Web. Accessed 03/20/2018. <http://www.cooksinfo.com/horned-melons>.

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