Thursday, December 28, 2006

cuke asaurus close-up

Strange fruit.
Strolling the produce section of Safeway the other day, I was stopped dead in my tracks by an unusual looking melon. Bright orange with horny protrusions, it beckoned my curiosity to pick it up. Ouch! It was thorny not horny! Inca Gold "Cuke asaurus" the label read. Curiosity completely engaged, that was all I needed to put it in my basket. An instructional sign read that it was similar to a kiwi, and should just be sliced in half and eaten with a spoon.

I had my test panel try it out (Jo-Ann, Toran, Aurelia & Dad). The comments were: gelatinous, bitter seeds, limy-cucumberish, and from the Star Wars enthusiast- "a perfect food for Jabba the Hutt". Jo-Ann also thought it reminiscent of gooseberries, and we felt that strained of the seeds, it would make up into a good fresh-taste jelly. It is not rewarding to eat raw as it is rather astringent and full of bitter seeds.

A little research turned up a few more names for it: Kiwano, African Horned Cucumber, and Jelly Melon. It is native to the Kalahari Desert. Higher in potassium than a banana, and chock full of vitamin C, it would be a great fruit, except for the difficulty in eating, and as Purdue University notes: "A market for edible kiwano does not yet exist, because the fruit lacks taste. Increasing the sweetness and improving the aroma may give rise to a new product for a large-volume market." Enough said.


Kristen said...

I've never heard of that fruit. Very interesting. Thanks for the enlightening post!

LynnH said...

Well Anna, I was going to ask you if you tried it as a jelly, but I see now that you've just posted this. I'll be keeping an eye out on this post to see what happens. And yes, definately strange looking. As soon as I hit Safeway I'll be looking for it.


cookiecrumb said...

Well, I think it's great that you bought it and gave it a try.
I remember asking my mom to buy me a persimmon when I was a kid. She said, "You won't like it." But she bought it.
I didn't like it.
Took me decades to try another one (and I liked it).
Hm... Maybe I'll try this funny horned melon!

Anna Haight said...

I like trying unique things, but unless I suddenly move to a kiwano farm or there is a seasonal sale, I don't see myself making jelly out out them at $4.99 each...

Anonymous said...

i bought it yesterday because my roommate and I thought it looked interesting... we opened it up and we werent sure how to eat it. haha. We also had no idea what it was called! We tried it after finding your page and my roommate didn't like it. For me, it's not that I didn't like it, but it just wasnt flavorful. Very disapointing for a $3.50 fruit.