Vegetables : Standard groups


horned melon, african horned cucumber


Synonyms: African horned cucumber, jelly melon, kiwano; botanical name: Cucumis metuliferus



The horned melon originally came from Africa. Today it is grown mainly in Kenya, New Zealand and Israel. It thrives in much sun and high temperatures. It has been known for around 3000 years, but it has been commercially grown and sold for only about 20 years.


Horned melons are available in small numbers the year round.

Appearance, taste, characteristics

Once you have seen a horned melon, it is clear from where it has its name. It is covered with numerous hornlike outgrowths and is shaped like a roller. Horned melons are striking because of their bright, yellow-orange rind. The pulp inside is green and jellylike and interspersed with many seeds.

It is not easy to describe the flavour clearly. Some say it tastes like a cucumber or a melon; other descriptions place it between a lemon and a banana. It is possible that the flavours develop differently in the individual growing areas.

Quality criteria, optimal storage conditions

Ripe horned melons can be recognized by their yellow-orange rind; unripe melons are green. Unripe fruits can be ripened at room temperature. Be careful when you buy a melon that the rind is not damaged.

If horned melons are stored cool and dry, they will keep for some time.

Form of consumption, use, processing, practical tips for preparation

To eat a horned melon you should cut it in half and spoon out the pulp with the seeds. The pulp is a good addition to fruit salads, cocktails, milk-based drinks or ice cream. The interesting looking fruits are a nice eye-catcher, particularly as decoration on a buffet table or in fruit baskets.





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