5. African Horned Cucumber
African horned cucumber is one of the oldest fruits in the world. The fruit was originated 3000 years ago in Africa. It is also called as ‘blow fish fruit’, named after it’s yellowish outer shell with spines like horns. The fruity part of horned cucumber is green with lots of seeds. The outer shell of the fruit is rich in vitamin c.
This jelly, melon fruit has an oblong shape and has a length between 5-10 cm. African horned cucumber tastes like a cross between a cucumber and lemon. Its juice is an excellent remedy for acidity, heart burns and eczema. The consumption of this fruit also helps to get relief from kidney, urinary problem and to regulate blood pressure.
Cucumis metuliferus, horned melon or kiwano, also African horned cucumber or melon, jelly melon, hedged gourd, melano, is an annual vine in the cucumber and melon family, Cucurbitaceae. Its fruit has horn-like spines, hence the name “horned melon”. Ripe fruit has yellow-orange skin and lime green, jelly-like flesh with a tart taste, and texture similar to a cucumber. C. metuliferus is native to Sub-Saharan Africa. It is now grown in the United States, Portugal, Italy, Germany, Chile, Australia, and New Zealand.
C. metuliferus is a traditional food plant in Africa. Along with the Gemsbok cucumber and Tsamma it is one of the few sources of water during the dry season in the Kalahari Desert. In northern Zimbabwe it is called gaka or gakachika, and is primarily used as a snack or salad, and rarely for decoration. It can be eaten at any stage of ripening, but when overripened, will burst forcefully to release seeds.
The fruit’s taste has been compared to a combination of cucumber and zucchini or a combination of banana, cucumber and lemon. It is also said to taste like an unripe, watered-down banana. A small amount of salt or sugar can increase the flavor. Some also eat the peel, which is very rich in vitamin C and dietary fiber. The fruit can be used in cooking, but when eaten raw, most suck out the pulp and spit out the seeds.