Thursday, December 28, 2006
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.