Horned Food – To Eat or Not to Eat?

by | Jun 1, 2016

In my family we eat fairly simple.  Our biggest adventures in eating are usually reserved for when we travel or when someone recommends something new to try.  At a recent grocery store visit I had my 12-year-old son in tow.  We were in the fresh food section and he was walking around checking out all the produce while I was looking at my list and putting things in my cart.  Then I heard his voice, “Hey Mom, come over here and check this out!”  His tone of voice made it sound fun and exciting so I went right over.  The subject of his interest was a crazy looking fruit.  The sign offered that it was a “Kiwano Melon.”  It also read that one of these fruits-from-another-planet was a whooping $4.99 each!


Next I heard my son say we should buy one so we could “try something new.”  Well, coming from a boy who would eat about the same 5 food items each day if I let him, this was an unexpected and welcome surprise.  So, after a short teaching moment on the cost of this fruit compared to others we know we love and watching the prices on things we buy, it was riding in our cart.  He was excited to go home and try it!  He also thought it was awesome that this fruit had thorns all over it and they actually hurt if you touched one.  Boys!

When we arrived home I went online to find out when it would be ripe and ready to eat.  Of course, I was also curious to see if I could make something fun with it.  In my Internet search I quickly learned that this melon is better known as a “Horn Melon.”  Here is some other information that I found on SpecialtyProduce.com about what the inside would look and taste like:

 The interior contains a rich, jelly-like, lime green flesh studded with white seeds reminiscent of cucumber seeds. The melon has a sweet and tart, banana-lime taste. A flavor…is enhanced when chilled. The brighter the orange skin, the sweeter the flesh of the fruit. The Horn melon is the size of a large pear and generally weighs less than one pound. Both the seeds and the flesh are edible.” http://www.specialtyproduce.com/produce/Horn_Melon_656.php#sthash.n84GQuuJ.dpuf

Well, you lost me at “jelly-like” and the recipe ideas (although I can guess they are the best anyone can do with this unusual fruit) also did not really intrigue me.  So, I decided to not tell my son what to expect and let him just cut into it and see for himself if melons with horns would be a new food in our house.

So, in the first tiny cut…green “slime,” as he described it, came out.  My son is mostly opposed to all things green so this was an instant turn-off.  But I was proud of him because he proceeded to cut the melon and at least acted like he was still willing to give it the benefit of the doubt.


As the inside of the fruit emerged it was indeed green, slimy, and full of seeds.  All of us, three adults (my Mom was there too) and my son, looked at it with disgust and obvious disappointment.  Although, even if it wasn’t meant to be eaten, it really was pretty.  As you know we spent about $5.00 on this strange food so we all HAD to taste it.  First up was my son.  He twisted up his face at the consistency as soon as it slid into his mouth.  Next, he yelled, “gross,” and shook his head.  This huge lack of endorsement made us adults cringe that it was now our turn.  Mom and I went basically at the same time.  Then…begrudgingly, my husband.  We all agreed that this was a one-time experience for us.  However, we disagreed about what it actually tastes like.  I think that it tastes exactly like a slimy banana, but then I read the online description so perhaps power of suggestion played a part in my taste buds’ work.  My Mom and son thought it tasted a bit like pumpkin, perhaps because it looks like a gourd cousin.  My husband said we were all wrong but that he did not know what it tasted like.  A flavor all its own I guess.


Verdict from our family: Horn Melons are better left alone and the horns should prevent human consumption.  Still, it was a fun adventure “trying something new.”


I am Judy and David’s daughter and Mel and Tillie’s and Fred and Luella’s granddaughter. I am the beaches and coast, lakes and steams and mountains of California. California is in my heart and soul, where I grew up, and it will always feel like home. My family and my oldest, cherished friends are there and dotted around the West. But, I am also downtown Chicago where I walked to work in knee-high snow and the shores of Lake Michigan where my husband and I strolled pulling my son behind us in his red wagon so he could learn to pump a swing and build sandcastles at the playground on our local beach.Read More

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