If you’re like most of the world, you probably this is one of coolest fruits you’ve ever seen. If you’re like a weird percent of the world, you think it looks just like those hairy yellow caterpillars that you always found crawling on your bathing suit every morning when you left it out to dry in the bungalow colony.
This is a kiwano, and it is proof that looks can be deceiving.
There is no doubt that the kiwano looks pretty awesome. In fact, many people recommend that you keep a bunch in a bowl for decorative purposes, because they retain their good looks for quite a while, or that you hollow out kiwano halves and serve ice cream in them. The people who aren’t “many people” recommend that you leave the psychedelic melon on the store shelf and buy ceramic apples for your decorations and sugar cones for your ice cream. Notably, nobody actually recommends that you eat the thing.
The kiwano is an African horned melon. It grows naturally in the Kalahari desert of southern Africa (a good thing to know if you ever get lost there). They claim it’s nutritious. Yeah – so are Brussels sprouts.
There’s no art to eating a kiwano. You can cut it any way you want – the long way, the short way, into rings or into spears, or in half so you can scoop out the center. Whichever way you cut it, you end up with a lot of greenish sacs of pulp, each with a seed in the middle. You know the center part of a big cucumber, where all the seeds are? Well, the entire kiwano is like that, only the seeds and pulp are all bigger.
The official way to eat kiwano is to suck up a pulp sac, hold the seed between the teeth, and suck the pulpy part from around it. Then you spit out the seed. Our panel of judges (thank you Girl Zone specialty staff) found that to be too much effort for too little return, and just slurped down the entire thing, seed and all. Then they decided that even that was too much effort for too little return, and chucked the rest in the garbage.
It’s not that the kiwano tastes bad. It just doesn’t taste much at all. If you sprinkled a bit of citrus juice on the center of a cucumber it would taste kind of how a kiwano tastes. Or maybe a bit stronger. Kiwano may be exciting to look at, but eating it is instant insomnia cure. Give your $4 to a worthy charity instead, and get a check mark next to your name in the heavenly books.