If you’re looking for a unique and healthy new fruit to add to your diet, you should definitely check out the horned melon. Also known as kiwano, this unusual fruit has a jelly-like texture and a tart, citrusy flavor.
Horned melon is packed with nutrients, including antioxidants and vitamin C. It’s also low in calories and carbs, making it a perfect choice for people on ketogenic or paleo diets.
Here are all the details on horned melon: its health benefits, side effects, recipes, how to eat it, and more. Enjoy!
What Is A Horned Melon?
Horned melon is a type of cucurbit which is native to parts of Africa. The fruit is roughly the size and shape of a cantaloupe, with a hard, spiny outer shell.
The flesh of the horned melon is orange or green and contains many small seeds.
The horned melon is sometimes also called the African cucumber, kiwano melon, horned gourd, or melon gourd. It is not related to the true melons, such as watermelons and honeydew, which are in the family Cucurbitaceae. This melon is more closely related to cucumbers and squash.
The horned melon is thought to have originated in either Ethiopia or Kenya. The fruit is popular in many African countries, and is also grown in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.
The horned melon is often used as a food ingredient, as its flesh has a tart, acidic flavor. It can be eaten raw, cooked, or pickled. The fruit is also used to make juices and jams.
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Taste Of Horned Melon
Horned melon tastes like a mix of cucumber, zucchini, and honeydew.
It is slightly sweet with a little bit of a tang. The flesh is firm but not crunchy, and the skin is edible. The seeds are edible but have a bitter taste.
Nutrition Facts Of Horned Melon
Horned melon is a good source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It is particularly high in vitamin C, which is important for immune system health. It also contains significant amounts of potassium, magnesium, copper, and iron.
One cup (165 grams) of raw horned melon contains the following nutrients:
- Calories: 54
- Protein: 2 grams
- Fat: 1 gram
- Carbs: 13 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Sugar: 7 grams
- Vitamin C: 97% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Potassium: 18% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 8% of the RDI
- Copper: 7% of the RDI
- Iron: 6% of the RDI
Horned melon is also a good source of vitamins B1, B6, and E. It also contains small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.
Health Benefits Of Horned Melon
Horned melon is a healthy fruit that offers several potential health benefits.
1. May Boost Immunity
Horned melon is an excellent source of vitamin C, which plays an important role in immune system function. Vitamin C helps to protect the body against infection by boosting the production of white blood cells.
Some studies have shown that vitamin C supplementation can help to reduce the duration and severity of colds. However, it is not clear if dietary intake of vitamin C has the same effect.
2. May Improve Digestion
Horned melon contains fiber, which is important for digestive health. Fiber helps to bulk up stools, making them softer and easier to pass. This can help to prevent constipation and diarrhea.
Fiber may also help to reduce the risk of other digestive disorders, such as diverticulitis and hemorrhoids.
3. May Have Anti-inflammatory Properties
Horned melon may have anti-inflammatory properties due to its high content of antioxidants. These substances help to reduce inflammation by protecting cells from damage.
Some studies have shown that vitamin C, in particular, may help to reduce the symptoms of inflammatory diseases, such as asthma and arthritis.
4. May Lower Blood Pressure
Horned melon is a good source of potassium, which is important for maintaining healthy blood pressure. Potassium helps to offset the effects of sodium, which can raise blood pressure.
Some studies have shown that potassium supplementation can help to lower blood pressure in people with hypertension.
5. May Promote Heart Health
Horned melon contains several important nutrients for heart health, including potassium, magnesium, and fiber. Potassium helps to lower blood pressure, while magnesium helps to prevent arrhythmias. Fiber may help to reduce cholesterol levels.
All of these effects may help to reduce the risk of heart disease. However, more research is needed to confirm these potential benefits.
6. May Aid Weight Loss
Horned melon is a low-calorie fruit that is high in fiber. Fiber helps to promote feelings of fullness and may reduce calorie intake at meals.
Eating horned melon as part of a calorie-controlled diet may help you to lose weight.
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7. May Help to Prevent Cancer
Horned melon contains antioxidants, which may help to protect cells from damage and prevent the development of cancer. Some studies have shown that vitamin C, in particular, may help to reduce the risk of stomach and pancreatic cancer.
8. May Help to Treat Diabetes
Horned melon may help to treat diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels. This effect is thought to be due to the high fiber content of the fruit. Fiber helps to slow down digestion and the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream.
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9. May Have Antibacterial Properties
Horned melon may have antibacterial properties due to its high content of vitamin C. Vitamin C is known to inhibit the growth of bacteria.
One study found that horned melon extract was effective at inhibiting the growth of various types of bacteria, including E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus.
10. May Promote Healthy Skin
Horned melon is a good source of vitamin C, which is important for skin health. Vitamin C helps to promote collagen production, which keeps the skin firm and elastic.
Eating a diet rich in vitamin C may help to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and protect the skin from damage caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays.
11. May Have Antioxidant Properties
Horned melon is a good source of antioxidants, which are substances that help to protect cells from damage. These nutrients include vitamin C, beta-carotene, and lycopene.
Antioxidants help to reduce the risk of some chronic diseases, such as heart disease and cancer. They may also help to slow the aging process.
12. May Help to Prevent Kidney Stones
Horned melon is a good source of citric acid, which may help to prevent kidney stones. Citric acid helps to break down calcium deposits in the kidneys, which can lead to stone formation.
Eating a diet rich in citric acid may help to reduce the risk of kidney stones.
13. May Help to Relieve Muscle Cramps
Horned melon is a good source of potassium, which is important for muscle function. Potassium helps to reduce muscle cramps by relaxing the muscles and nerves.
Eating a diet high in potassium may help to relieve muscle cramps, especially during exercise.
How To Eat Horned Melon?
Horned melon is a versatile fruit that can be enjoyed in many different ways such as eaten ripe, as a salad, cooked, juiced, or pickled.
Horned melons are ripe when they are soft to the touch and their skin is wrinkled. To eat a ripe horned melon, simply cut it in half and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. The flesh can be eaten as is.
As A Salad
Cut the horned melon in half and scoop out the flesh. Chop the flesh into small pieces. Add the chopped horned melon to a salad.
Horned melons can be cooked in a variety of ways. They can be baked, grilled, or sauteed.
Horned melons can be juiced. To juice, a horned melon, cut it in half and scoop out the flesh. Place the flesh in a juicer and process until smooth.
Horned melons can be pickled. To pickle a horned melon, cut it in half and scoop out the flesh. Chop the flesh into small pieces. Place the chopped horned melon in a jar.
Add pickling spices and vinegar. Seal the jar and place it in the refrigerator. The pickled horned melon will be ready to eat after two weeks.
Now that you know how to eat horned melon, give it a try! Eat Ripely, add it to a salad, cook it up, or juice it for a refreshing drink.
Horned Melon Recipes
Here are some recipes that use horned melon:
Horned Melon Smoothie Bowl
- 1 cup chopped horned melon
- 1 banana, frozen
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Sliced almonds
- Chia seeds
- Add the horned melon, banana, almond milk, and honey to a blender and blend until smooth.
- Pour the smoothie into a bowl and top with granola, sliced almonds, and chia seeds.
Horned Melon Juice
- 1 cup chopped horned melon
- 1 apple, cored and chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- Add the horned melon, apple, carrot, ginger, and lemon juice to a juicer and process until smooth.
- Pour the juice into a glass and enjoy.
Horned Melon Curry
- 1 cup chopped horned melon
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1 can (14 ounces) coconut milk
- 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Add the horned melon, onion, curry powder, coconut milk, and chicken broth to a saucepan over medium heat.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water. Add this mixture to the saucepan and stir until thickened.
- Serve the curry over rice or noodles. Enjoy!
Horned Melon Pie
- 1 unbaked 9 inch pie crust
- 3 cups chopped horned melon
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
- In a large bowl, combine the horned melon, sugar, cornstarch, ginger, salt, cloves, and lemon juice.
- Pour the mixture into the pie crust.
- Bake the pie for 50 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the crust is golden brown.
- Let the pie cool before serving. Enjoy!
How To Choose Horned Melon?
When choosing a horned melon, look for fruits that are bright in color and have few blemishes. The fruits should also be heavy for their size.
Avoid horned melons that are dull in color or have soft spots. These fruits are likely overripe and will not taste as good.
Horned melon can usually be found in Asian markets or specialty grocery stores. Fruits that are not yet ripe can be ripened at home by placing them in a paper bag with a banana or apple.
How To Store Horned Melon?
Horned melon can be stored at room temperature for a few days or in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Fruits that are not yet ripe can be ripened at home by placing them in a paper bag with a banana or apple.
Cooked horned melon can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days or in the freezer for up to six months.
Horned melon juice can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days.
How Can Tell If A Horned Melon Is Spoiled?
As you know, horned melon can go bad pretty quickly. If you’ve ever had the misfortune of eating a spoiled one, you know how unpleasant it can be.
The last thing you want is to include some bad fruit in your juice or smoothie. So, how can you tell if a horned melon is spoiled?
There are a few signs to look for.
- First, check the color of the fruit. If it’s starting to turn brown or black, it’s probably spoiled.
- Second, smell the melon. If it smells sour or unpleasant, it’s probably gone bad.
- Finally, give the melon a squeeze. If it feels mushy or soft, it’s probably not good anymore.
If you see any of these signs, it’s best to throw the fruit away. It’s not worth the risk of including spoiled fruit in your juice or smoothie.
Side Effects Of Horned Melon
Horned melon may also interact with certain medications, such as blood pressure medication and diuretics. Therefore, it is important to speak to a doctor before eating horned melon if you are taking any medication.
Pregnant women should speak to their doctor before eating horned melon as it may contain substances that can cross the placenta and harm the fetus. It is also a diuretic, which may cause dehydration in pregnant women.
Horned melon is a unique and delicious fruit that can be enjoyed in many ways. Although the taste may take some getting used to, the health benefits of horned melon make it worth trying.
This melon is an excellent source of vitamins C and K, as well as antioxidants and other nutrients. Eating horned melon may help boost the immune system, improve digestion, and lower blood pressure.
There are many different ways to enjoy horned melon. The fruits can be eaten raw, juiced, or cooked. It can also be used to make pies, jams, and other desserts.
If you are pregnant or taking medication, speak to your doctor before eating horned melon. Otherwise, enjoy this healthy and delicious fruit!