Horned Melon Exploration

When I take my kids to the grocery store they ask A LOT of questions.  “Mommy what’s this?”  “Mommy what’s that?”  It can get a little old…… (can I get an AMEN?)  and sometimes I don’t feel like being the tour guide.  But then, I remind myself of my role as their cheerleader for cool and exotic food.  I try to remember that I’m their teacher of all things nutritious and gastronomic.  Then, I usually snap out of it and go into “Professor Poe” mode.

Well, one week we were strolling through the isles of produce when we came across this THING!

Horned Melon…….. one Cucumis metuliferus, Cucurbitaceae……. to be exact…………. made it into our cart!

New Zealanders call it “kiwano because its flesh bear a slight resemblance to that of the kiwi.  They have apparently been growing them for over 80 years but only recently they have been available here in North America.

This weird orange spiky beast also known as horned melon is native to southwest Africa.  An alien cousin to the cucumber, zucchini and melon family, it looks and tastes nothing like them!

I decided to embrace the challenge and introduce my kiddies to this odd yet innocent bi-standard that made it’s way into our home.
Without hesitation we sliced into it and beheld it’s glory!  It’s super slimy green seeded interior freaked us out a bit but then the question……….. what to do with it?

The seed pods were rather cocoon like.  They were not eager to come out of the mother-ship and even more difficult to get the seeds out of the fruit itself.

Finally……… I freed one and was able to taste this awkward little pod.  It had a hint of citrus and the after taste of banana.  The kids dove in and began to sample themselves.  They liked it…….over-all.   The seeds were kind of hard to remove and rather time consuming to actually get any pulp/fruit to eat.  We resorted to scraping the pods into a colander and tried to extract the juice/pulp that way. 

We smashed the living day lights out of the seeds and oddly enough only got about 3 tablespoons of pulp/liquid from each half.

But the kids had fun with it and it was a great time!  All in the name of GASTRONOMIC discover….. right?

After we “played” with the horned melon to death, we decided to use it to make a snack.  Since the melon reminded us of bananas and was fairly tropical……. we assembled a fun dip and used the shells as our bowls.

The first two ingredients:  BANANA and CREAM CHEESE!

Next we added the 3 Tablespoons of Horned Melon Juice.

The fourth ingredient is amazing and one of my favorite products in my pantry!  This Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste is a revelation to those in love with vanilla beans and extract!  I found it at Spiceology, a cute little spice store in Tulsa.  They sell the paste on their website and it’s a great alternative to having vanilla bean pods in your cabinet.  The paste is a beautiful combination of extract and vanilla bean caviar mixed into one convenient bottle.  I use it all the time!  It has the consistency of honey and is LOADED with vanilla flavor!  You can find it for around $10.00 and for those of you who purchase vanilla beans you know………. that’s a steal!  1 tsp Madagascar Pure Vanilla Paste!  FABULOUS!

1/4 of a Cup of Unbleached Sugar

Mix Mix Mix Mix Mix Mix Mix a Rough Rough!

As I mentioned earlier, we decided to use the beautiful bright orange “horned” shells as bowls for our dip!  I think this would be pretty for a party or get together.  If nothing else they make a nice conversation piece.

Now we eat!  You could serve this with an assortment of crackers, cut up fruit, pretzels or just eat it with a spoon!

I think the kids liked it!  It was creamy, fruity, exotic and had just a little bite of citrus flavor from the horned melon juice.

We gave the HORNED MELON the following ratings:

Rating Scale:

1………Not Worth Your Time

2……… Try If You’re Bored and Adventuous

3………. Fun and Interesting

4………. Very Exciting and Great Culinary Adventure

5………. AMAZING/Fabulous Adventure in Food

_______________________________________________________________________

HORNED MELON :
Gastronomic Flare:  5

Ease of Usability and Functionality:  2

Flavor and Taste Appeal:  3

Over-All Experience with Food or Product:  4

My family had a great time discovering the horned melon.  I’m excited for you to discover it too!  Here is the recipe!

Creamy Horned Melon Fruit Dip with Vanilla

  • 1 (8oz) Package of Cream Cheese
  • 1 Banana
  • 3 Tbsp Horned Melon Juice
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract or Vanilla Bean Paste
  • 1/4 Cup of Unbleached Cane Sugar
  • Assorted Crackers or Fruit for Dipping
  1. Combine cream cheese, banana, melon juice, vanilla and sugar together in a stand mixer bowl.
  2. Mix on medium speed with a whisk attachment until smooth and creamy.
  3. Spoon into the carved out shells of the horned melon and serve with cracker or fruit.

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