The exotic Kiwano fruit is known by many names – for example, “African cucumber”, “English tomato”, “horned melon” and “anguria”. This plant belongs to the Pumpkin family and the genus Cucumber, in appearance it is a grassy annual vine, which has thin, but at the same time, quite strong shoots, as well as hard skin, the surface of which is covered with thorns.
The birthplace of Kiwano is Africa, but this plant is also very successfully cultivated in other places with a tropical climate – mainly in South America and the Antilles. This climate is very favorable for this plant, and it grows like huge green wings.
Compared to many other plants from this family, Kiwano is practically invulnerable to all kinds of pests and diseases. In addition, it is very prolific and is characterized by the simplicity of cultivation and care. Due to these properties, they began to grow African cucumber very successfully in countries such as Israel, the UK, New Zealand, Italy, Bulgaria, as well as in some US states. True, there is a horned melon and one single drawback is hypersensitivity to daily temperature fluctuations, as well as intolerance to negative ambient temperatures
The appearance of the Kiwano fruits is quite exotic – they resemble small melons that have an oval shape and pointed conical growths in the form of spikes. True, these spikes are soft and therefore can not cause any harm. The Kiwano pulp is light green with a jelly-like texture and lots of small white seeds that are edible.
To taste, a kiwano can resemble something between a banana and cucumber or melon and lime – it all depends on the perception of the person who tasted this fruit. But in any case, it can be argued that Kiwano has a very pleasant sweet and sour taste, due to which it has a refreshing effect in the heat. Kiwano is eaten by cutting the fruit into two parts and scooping out the pulp with a spoon. Ripe pulp is often used as an additive to desserts, salads, creams, and cakes. The peeled slices of this fruit are an excellent decoration for milkshakes or fruit ice cream. In addition, a dish made from seafood, soft cheeses, and kiwano is widely used throughout the world. And the pickled four-day ovary of an African cucumber is generally a real delicacy.
Unripe fruits of African cucumber are often used for decorative purposes. They are cut in half and thoroughly cleaned of the pulp, then the barbed shell is well dried – it produces unique dishes – for example, a plate or a glass for a cocktail.
Composition and useful properties
Kiwano fruits contain many vitamins – A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, and C, macrocells – sodium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium, as well as trace elements – iron, copper, zinc, and manganese. African cucumber is a low-calorie product, which is why it is often used in diet food. It is useful for diseases of the cardiovascular system, as well as diabetes. Kiwano pulp is quite sticky and is used for external use in cuts, as it can stop the blood and prevent the entry of harmful microorganisms into the wound.
100 g of Kiwano fruits on average contain about 44 kcal.
Harm and contraindications
People who have allergic reactions to fruits and vegetables should be careful when using Kiwano.