Wild Kiwano is also known as horned melon or prickly squirrel. This fruit vegetable originally comes from Africa and has a striking, prickly appearance. It starts out very light green and as the fruit ripens it turns deep orange. The wild kiwano has long, slender deep orange fruits. The taste is a combination of melon, apple and lime. It has an acidity with a little sweetness. It is a deliciously exotic-looking fruit that does quite well in the greenhouse in our climate. They ripen from green with speckles to completely deep orange. Fruits are about 10 cm long. The wild kiwano is related to the cucumber. This plant needs a lot of light, warmth and shelter from the wind. It can be grown both indoors and outdoors. It has a delicious taste and bright green, slightly watery flesh with many seeds in it.
Kiwano is very healthy. It contains vitamins A, B6, C and E. And the minerals: calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc. This healthy fruit also contains many antioxidants, fibre and few calories. Kiwano can be used in salads, fruit salads, desserts, salsas, smoothies, ice cream and many other dishes. Kiwano is very tasty in combination with: shrimp, mango, crème fraîche, lime, lemon, amaretto, beef, minced meat, chicken, pork, yoghurt, crab, apple, tabasco, paprika, parsley, mayonnaise, papaya, melon, pineapple, olive oil, bay leaf, thyme, juniper berries, red wine, white wine, hare, kiwi, hazelnuts, cayenne pepper, basil, coriander, honey, whipped cream, raspberries, eggs, sugar, mustard, wine vinegar, puff pastry, watermelon, strawberries and pear. And other vegetables such as: cabbage lettuce, cress, celery, tomatoes, peppers, shallots, onions, garlic and mixed lettuce. In a cool place (not in the refrigerator) a kiwano can be kept for 2 - 3 weeks. Not hardy annual. Height: 200 - 250 cm.
Sow indoors from early March in separate pots with seedbed. Sow 2 seeds per pot and cover with a thin layer of soil. Keep warm and moist. Cover the pots with cling film to keep the moisture in. Store them warm and with plenty of light. Remove the cling film as soon as the seedlings emerge. At the end of April - beginning of May, place the seedlings outside in daylight for about 10 days to harden them off. After this you can put the seedlings in a very sunny, warm and sheltered place.
From the middle of May, as soon as there is no more chance of night frost, you can sow outside. Sow in a very sunny, warm and sheltered place and cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil. Keep well moist and weed free. Give sufficient water, especially during germination and in dry periods. Harvest the kiwanos by cutting them very carefully from the plant. You can cut off the kiwanos when they start to colour and let them ripen indoors in a dry, warm and sunny place. Kiwanos can be stored at room temperature for about 2 - 3 weeks. Remove the inedible and prickly skin and only eat the flesh and seeds.