You say kiwi, I say kiwano

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On Rosh Hashanah, you’re encouraged to try a new fruit of the season. I was a guest for many of my Rosh Hashanah meals this year and one particular household had some very interesting offerings to fulfill this task.

They had three offterings. Lychee nuts and starfruit, those I’d seen before; but the third fruit, pictured above, was entirely new. The funny thing was, my hosts had no idea what it was either. When asked, they responded with “I don’t know, it was just in our refrigerator.”

Humored and intrigued, I took to finding out what it was called, and with the help of this Serious Eats commenter (thank you again!), I’ve figured out that this odd excuse for a fruit is called horned melon, otherwise known as kiwano.

Not only is a kiwano interesting in appearance, it’s taste matches its oddity. At this table of kiwano-eating newbies, I heard choruses of “It reminds me of a cucumber!” and “It looks like a green and yellow pomegranate!” In other words, no one could quite put their finger on it. While familiar fruits were used as the basis for comparison, in actuality, it really doesn’t compare to anything else I’ve seen. But, some say that when primely ripe, it’s supposed to taste like a banana.

What I find MOST odd about this phenomenon of a fruit (at least in my opinion) is that it has the texture of jello! The gloop around the seeds may as well as been whipped up by a professional jello maker, but I guess in this case, her name is Mother Nature. Literally, when I searched for photos of a horned melon (I was unable to take one myself on the holiday), I found pictures filed under gelatin dessert.

It was no durian, but it was definitely an experience!

-Hillary, anxiously awaiting some important news
Editor, Recipe4Living

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  • Anna

    That is a beautiful picture! How do you eat a horned melon? Just straight up? The name of the fruit (it’s a fruit, right?) sounds like something out of Harry Potter.
    What a neat idea to try something new on New Year. I never knew that was one of the customs. I really should know these things. Now I do! Thanks.

  • JEP

    I admit, I need to venture out of my fruit & vegetable comfort zone :) Many delicious & unsual ones I just pass by :(

  • Arcana

    I was at my local grocer a year ago and came across this odd little fruit. I’m a sucker for trying new things and bought one out of curiousity. Ever since, I buy out their stock when they come in! Kiwano’s are BY FAR my favorite tasting fruit ever! The taste is half way between a cucumber and a banana with just a hint of tang. It’s got an interesting texture and you can just eat the seeds too. A must try for everyone!

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